Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies. The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health. PS 41:1–3
The gifts have been opened, the relatives have come and gone, school and work emails are starting to fill the inbox again, and while this usually comes with its share of back-to-the-grind blues around this time of year, I think we are all more than relieved that 2020 is finally coming to an end. Despite the relief and anticipation of a new year however, there’s a strangeness in the air about the end of this year. If we’re honest, I think we all wonder if 2021 is going to be anything like 2020. Some of us even battle against the fear that it will be even worse. Is that even possible?
Beyond wondering about the future though, some are actually grieving their way into the new year. They’re grieving over failed plans, missed opportunities, derailed progress, lost jobs, failed marriages, lost loved ones and the list goes on. Needless to say, it’s a little more difficult this year to skip gleefully into the next as we have in years past. If anything, it’s probably more like a limp than a skip.
Do you want to know something really sad though? Believe it or not, it’s probably more difficult for the guy next door than it is for you. If you’re a believer, you and I know it’s a lot more difficult for many who have yet to find hope in Jesus. And for those who’ve been following this Pray for PASSION thread for the last few weeks, it’s a lot more difficult for those on your prayer list.
Those of us with our hope in Jesus realize that we’re all just aliens in this world, temporarily passing through to a more permanent home in a much more glorious Kingdom. But for many who are without Christ, this life is all they know. It’s all they’ve come to expect, and the end can’t be much more than just a dark fuzzy blotch of curiosity and dismay. Can you imagine wading through 2020 with that kind of perspective on life? This is why it’s so crucial for us to maintain a clear focus on reaching out and ministering to those who are far from God. And this is why we’re fleshing out this PASSION evangelism strategy together.
Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been praying for those far from God, and last week I encouraged you to begin personally acknowledging them. This week we’re going to take another step toward sharing our faith with these folks. Our next step is to serve them.
The ability to serve others through acts of generosity is a powerful tool that God’s given us all, but unfortunately, it’s so easy to think of serving ourselves and our families so much that we neglect to use our gifts of service for the advancement of the Kingdom. So this week, I want you to think creatively and find a way to serve those who are far from God.
You might consider serving them materially through giving a gift, sending a card, buying a coffee, playing a game, helping them clean up a mess, or helping them finish a project. If a material act of kindness is not so practical for you this week, then you might opt to serve them emotionally. This can be very similar to acknowledging them (last week’s challenge) in the sense that you may opt to pay them a compliment over social media, you might send them a text to let them know you’re praying for them, you might send them a note letting them know you appreciate all their hard work this year. As with last week’s challenge, the options here are only limited by our own imaginations.
So as you prayerfully consider what those you’ve been praying for have been going through recently, and as they get ready to limp into the next year with you, take the next step toward building a relationship with these folks, extend a hand of generosity, and serve them.
P- Pray for those far from God.
A- Acknowledge them.
S- Serve them.