The Fruit of Our Faith is Obedience to God in Service to Others
Greetings Dear Brethren, as a Ministry we would like to wish all our loyal and prayer partners here a BLESSED CHRISTMAS and a Christ invited NEW YEAR!
As we celebrate this season of giving, let's not forget those in need around us including some people in our fellowship groups. And as for those brethren who daily leads a giving lifestyle we encourage you, do not neglect the gift of God in your life knowing that the JOY (that you use in giving) is from the LORD which is operating in you and upon you (2 Corinthians 9:7; Psalm 28:7; Nehemiah 8:10). May our God Almighty and our Lord Jesus Christ BLESS you all as we also extend our true love to you!
Caring can be defined as “showing kindness to others who are unable to care for themselves.” In this article, we would look at the practical application of caring and from a Scriptural perspective. There are many fine theories out there about caring. Sadly, most of the approaches are academic and they lack in many respects the emotional appeal. There is a vast difference between helping someone who comes to us for help and truly being caring proactively. In my understanding, caring conveys the emotional connection and we care for the well-being of others.
Personally the year 2009 was the most trying time for me and my family. As a father and breadwinner, I was unemployed for a full year. Our bond or mortgage repayments ran high and we lived on hand-outs and the care of others. During this time, we learned that human care is selective and always wants something back in return. I had God in my life, but things were going tough. We were members of a local church, but the help of the church was invisible even though they knew about our situation. Please note, I am not mentioning this to discredit any ministry; instead, I am using this to provoke you to action as an individual member of the body.
As it is, things became so bad that I even thought this was going to adversely affect my marriage and my children. I pondered many options including selling our house. I praise the Lord those sleepless nights made me pray continuously. Some people avoided us because of our problem and this made us determined not to go bother them for help. My father, my sisters and brethren in the Lord turned their backs on us. The Lord was showing us that reliance on the arm of flesh instead of Him was a curse: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25); “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:5-8).This led me to turn to God. My wife and I committed to fast for seven (7) days for a job for me. By the third day into our fasting, the Lord Jesus Christ not only blessed me with a job, but He blessed us with the best and greatest gift: His message through my daughter Charis. He opened her spiritual eyes so that she may see His form and then He took care of all our problems (1 Peter 5:7). I briefly mentioned our full testimony in an article, “Prayer: The Key to All Problems”. After our physical needs were met, He established this ministry as evidence of our testimony. In my experience with the Lord, if we show care to others, the Lord Himself will show care to us. As a Kingdom principle, God provides as we sow (Matthew 5:7).
In our recent article of helpfulness we pointed out that believers should practice open-handedness (Deuteronomy 15:7-11). This is a different Christian experience altogether; we sometimes help with little care, and sometimes to ease our guilt. This is not entirely wrong; remember helping is a Christian ministry to support the body and the needy around us (1 Corinthians 12:28). Caring mainly involves our emotional connection through some physical contact (Matthew 25:35-36; Luke 10:25-37). This is the Lord’s message of love to the person being cared for, if a believer acted from the heart. The recipient will feel it and give back love through appreciation, thanksgiving and praise to our Heavenly Father (2 Corinthians 9:11).
Caring: A Gift of God Through The Holy Spirit
The Lord once gave me a word through Charis to preach about the Holy Spirit. As I was preaching, I felt the fire on my tongue. I became totally controlled by the Holy Spirit as He spoke through me. During this sermon, the Lord revealed to me that His work is authenticated or proven truthful through the Holy Spirit. Our Lord Jesus Christ was identified as the Son of God with Power through the Holy Spirit (John 1:33; John 10:37). Therefore, if a gift is performed and it is from God, it has to be through the Holy Spirit and Christ must be glorified as God’s salvation to mankind (John 15:26). In addition, before the believers were sent out to preach, they were instructed to wait for the promised Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).
While this is not a complete teaching on the Holy Spirit, it is necessary to point to the Source of our ministry. The gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit is identified by those who have the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14-15). Thus, caring being an outward manifestation of the fruit of kindness gives meaning to the Christian message. The receiver of our care would in return like to acknowledge the Giver through thanksgiving and praise (2 Corinthians 9:10-15). Our Lord Jesus Christ, pointed to God’s glory and character by saying: “If I am not doing My Father’s works, don’t believe Me. But if I am doing them and you don’t believe Me, believe the works. This way you will know and understand that the Father is in me and I in the Father” (John 10:37-38).
Having said so, our Lord was referring to the outward manifestation of God’s care for mankind. The evidence of God’s love was demonstrated through various miracles, caring and healing of people (Acts 10:38). It was easy for people to identify love and the Source of it. The disobedient believer does not care about others; he is blinded by his own selfishness and what he can get. The Lord Jesus pointed to the evidence of His message, His works coming from Someone – God. Does your work reflect the fruit of obedience or are you just a talker? Is there evidence of God’s message in you through your fruit [works?] (Galatians 5:22). Does your care originate from self-praise or are we able to identify the Source who sends you so that we may honour Him? (John 9:36-38).
Experiences of Caring
In the Bible, we read the account of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Great parable! It is often good to hear some heart-warming stories and experiences about others; but can others tell a story about us? Also, when our Lord considered His future return with rewards for the obedient and punishment for the wicked (Matthew 25:31-46), He pointed to our works as individuals. The Lord is being referred to as having compassion on the needy, sick and the forgotten outcast of society (Matthew 9:36, 14:14, 15:32; Luke 15:20, 7:13). He did not just have compassion, but He actually addressed their plight. Christ, being the Creator of man, (Colossians 1:15-19) knew that people need an emotional experience, which is evidence of love and care. When a message has long been preached, the emotional touch remains. This is what people hold on to, something that appealed to an inner need. This gives people great peace and comfort and life is being celebrated in thanksgiving to God.
I always become emotional when I read this account, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt!” Jacob was stunned, for he did not believe them. BUT when they told Jacob all that Joseph had said to them, and when he SAW the WAGONS that Joseph had sent to transport him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. Then Israel said, “ENOUGH! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go to see him before I die.” (Genesis 45:26-28 Holman CSB).
Evidently, Jacob was moved emotionally when he said ‘Enough!’ He accepted the testimony of his sons concerning Joseph as truthful when he ‘SAW the WAGONS’ (witness to experience). In other words, Jacobs’s sons’ witness to their father that Joseph was alive and in testimony they produce evidence (works as witness). A question for you: when you bring your Christian message to people, do you bring something they can relate to emotionally?
Brethren, while I am aware that our message is filled with emotion to evoke guilt, compassion and care, I am referring to us giving ourselves over in service to others through our emotions in response to their situation. Similarly, we are aware that some people fake care through false emotions to fool and deceive. This can be easily recognised when we perceive that someone suddenly acts caring. They help because they have some personal interest and not the well-being of the cared person. When we care we give without expecting anything back in return, instead we carry the cost (Luke 10:35; Philemon 1:18). In a magnified way, Christ carried all our guilt at the cost of His life (John 10:15).
Does your work reflect the fruit of obedience or are you just a talker? Is there evidence of God’s message in you through your fruit [works?]. Does your care originate from self-praise or are we able to identify the Source? Who sends you so that we may honour Him? Here is a
Blessed Grace in His Care