Living for Others

The Church may choose its priorities. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “The church is herself only when she exists for humanity.” Our Lord gave us the example of living for others through his teaching and healing, traveling from town to town and village to village. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

Some may feel that giving to others will diminish us in some way. But James Keller observed, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” Our Lord told us, “‘You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds, and praise your Father in heaven’” (Matthew 5:14-16). By living for others we share the light of Christ.

Considering for whom we live may make us wonder how we want to be remembered by others.  A man one day read his own obituary. It was written by mistake in a newspaper. It was thought that he was dead, and the words written about him were not positive. He was referred to as the merchant of death because of his invention of dynamite. The man had made large sums of money from the creation of explosives and weapons of war. Impacted by the reading of these words the man determined that he would change his life completely. Alfred Nobel became a man of peace, giving his life to humanitarian causes. We know him as the founder of the Nobel Prize. How will we be known and remembered? It’s not too late for people to change.

The Bible tells us that the leaders of the church are to, “…prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13). We’re to be stewards of our gifts and abilities, in order that we may help the family of God grow.  God’s family is not limited to the people with whom we worship. When Tammy Harris of Roanoke, Virginia turned twenty-one she began searching for her biological mother. Her mother was searching for her as well. One day a woman Tammy worked with, Joyce, overheard her talking about the search.  They compared birth certificates and discovered that Joyce was Tammy’s mother. They had been working side by side in a convenience store, and until that moment had never known they were family. At work and in our neighborhoods we live side by side with brothers and sisters in Christ and may not ever realize we’re family. We’re to be building up the family by living for others. God’s people are everywhere, and we can help each other day by day.

But we’re not only to live for the family of God. We’re to live for the world. Jesus told the disciples to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, “‘…and to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 1:8). Where do we go? Frederick Buechner once wrote, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” God will lead us!

Blessings await those who live for others in the world. Our Lord said, “‘Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you’” (Luke 6:38). Living for others is what God wants us to do, and what will give us joy! Let’s live for others!

Pastor Ken Atchison

 

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.

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