As the old saying goes, "Charity begins at home." Jesus told the apostles in Luke 24:47 to share the good news of the gospel “beginning at Jerusalem,” and then ultimately to the ends of the earth. Jerusalem was the "home town" or the "local community" of the early church. Jesus always wants His church to begin at home, right where we live.
We as the church of Jesus Christ should always desire to bring the good news of Jesus to our community, but not only the message of His love, but also we need a great passion to show His love. We must always remember that people will not care how much we know, until they know how much we care. I know that sound doctrine is important. I believe we should earnestly contend for the faith. I believe we must enter the straight gate and walk the narrow path, and that we should count the cost. But none of those things will amount to anything if there is no love. (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3) Love is the key that opens the hearts of the most hardened sinners. Love is the key to evangelism and outreach.
We must desire as the body of Christ to be known as a church that not only says "God loves you", but one that actually shows it by our actions. We need to do this on a personal level, but also on a church level through our various outreach efforts. I'm thankful for Central's upcoming “Warmth from the Heart” coat giveaway this Saturday. We seek to bring God's love to our community in real ways, opening the door to share the wonderful message of Christ. They may not be impressed with our Savior at first, but they will remember who really cared and who had the courage to get involved in the difficulties of their lives. Then, they become more interested in the One who motivates us to act, and we have an opportunity to tell them of His saving message.
The story is told about during a time of combat, a young soldier asked his commanding officer if he could rescue one of his comrades who was severely wounded. The officer narrowed his eyes and stood a while in thought, and then said, "I´ll give you permission, but it´s not worth it. Your friend is probably dead, and you´ll be putting your own life at risk."
Feeling the responsibility for his friend, the young soldier saluted and then proceeded on his way, dodging bullets as he ran, and managing to get to his friend. He hoisted him over his shoulder, and quickly brought him back to the trench.
The officer inspected the wounded soldier and then shook his head with grief. "Your friend´s dead." He looked at the young man and saw a red spot on his shirt and added, "And you´re wounded. I told you it wouldn´t be worth it."
The young soldier looked into his officer´s eyes with confidence and answered, "It was worth it, Sir." "What do you mean worth it? You´re wounded and it was all for nothing." "No, sir. It was worth it because when I knelt down beside him he said to me, ´I knew you´d come.´
Friends let’s be known as a Christian community of people who care and come to those in need. We have no agenda other than showing and sharing the love of Christ. Does service call us to help our neighbor, yes! Service is calling us. We need only to open our eyes and ears and then just maybe we might hear those around us in this community calling out to us: “I knew you’d come.”