Get in the game
I have been doing a sermon series from the Parable of the Vine in John chapter fifteen as Jesus is teaching His disciples on the principles of Bearing Fruit and God’s desire for that to happen in and through us. A working summation of what Fruit is has been: Spiritual Character which leads to Spiritual Conduct.
An associated verse has been Titus 3:14, “Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.”
“Good deeds to meet pressing needs,” and fruitfulness tied together.
In recent years, the Christian community has worked its way through themes of Random acts of Kindness and stories told of how individuals, out of kindness and generosity, have paid for the meals of other diners in restaurants or coffee shop or drive through lines. Those are all nice things and I do not want to take away from the intent or act, but how generous or how beneficial is it when all you have done is paid for someone else’s meal who clearly and obviously were able to and were intending to pay for their own way?
Acts of kindness, acts of thoughtfulness are good things, but have we missed the true intent of God and our purpose in serving Him? I have noticed a growing trend as we gather and lament the increasingly bleak and darkening aspect of our American culture. We get together and list the failings and make note of the growing needs and after having discussed them move on and do nothing. We talked about the needs of our current moment, even prayed for them, maybe even individuals in our immediate community and feel content they we have done what we can do. As a result, Pressing Needs are left unmet.
What Titus is telling us is that we need learn to get involve in actively seeking to meet needs in others, and the needs of others who are not just in our circle of friends. Needs that are essential to the lives of others. That often means sometimes messing and daunting tasks. Meeting those needs will take us way outside our comfort and ability zones and yet someone needs to go there. There are moments we need to get messy and we need to get involved.
For those who are already engaged in trying to meet messy, daunting needs, God bless you. May he equip you with resilience, wisdom and the practical and spiritual resources you are needing. Often, we are way over our heads with the needs before us, but I believe that is where God wants us to be, and that is where we will experience God in more profound ways.
For the rest of us, we need to engage, get in the game. If the task is too big, gang up on it. Nothing in the above verse says it has to be done alone. The next time you become aware of someone else’s pressing need, talk about it, yes. Pray about it, yes. Then do something about it.