I grew up in a smaller church family, and it seemed as if everyone knew everyone else. If there was a need within the church family, the word went out and people came together to minister to that family. Churches now are larger, and it is easy to feel invisible. If members join a small group, they can then get to know other members. As Jesus taught the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), He taught how we are supposed to meet the needs of the body. I’m sharing a devotional from Dr. Charles Stanley below so that we can ponder the different ways that we may reach out to others and minister to their needs, thereby sharing the love we have through Jesus Christ.
Do you realize that believers should not have to look beyond the body of Christ to have their needs met? We are meant to be a self-sustaining body. After several decades in ministry, I have seen only one way for the church to function as it should: believers must commit to give of themselves on behalf of others.
For example, a man determines to pray and struggle alongside a hurting brother until the burdensome situation is resolved or peace returns. Or a woman makes herself available to answer a new Christian’s questions about the weekly sermon–the two ladies search the Bible and fill their minds with Scripture. And there are countless other ways to serve others, such as driving an elderly member to the service, teaching a Sunday school class, or visiting a weary single mom and listening to her concerns.
Before you become overwhelmed by the variety of needs in your church body, let me remind you that loving each other is meant to be a body-wide effort. One person cannot meet every need. But suppose you commit to serving a small group of folks whom God brings into your sphere of influence. If, in order to care for them, you surrender self-focused preferences about resources and time, the Lord will bless you with more joy and contentment than you’ve ever known. “‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.'” (Luke 10:36-37)
To serve others before serving yourself is to practice authentic Christianity. I’m certain that if believers commit to meeting as many needs as the Lord brings to their attention, then a lazy church can be transformed, becoming a true body of believers who function together for the glory of God.