"Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness among the people"
You know what is great? Secret Santa gift exchanges. My wife and I do it every year. Well, I guess we act surprised when we give each other gifts at least......
You know what would diminish my enjoyment of being a Secret Santa? Keeping it a secret long after the gifts have been given.
Giving gifts is in and of itself a good thing. I love to bless people. But I know that I love to know who I am thankful to when I receive a gift. The increasing of my joy is in recognizing the love and thoughtfulness of the person who blessed me. It shifts thankfulness from a private affair to one of directed, and shared, joy. Being able to tangibly experience being loved makes those feelings more real.
If I ran across a note that simply said, "I love you" in a pocket of my jacket, it might be nice. And I would wonder where it came from. If it said, "I love you----Love Tori", it suddenly means a lot more to me because it was deliberately given by my wife for a specific purpose. Purposeful love and gifts are powerful when you have a full picture of the heart behind it.
Christians today really screw up giving to others.
Either we proclaim the truth of the Kingdom and then exit stage left, or, we do something nice without understood purpose.
Neither option is supposed to exist in a vacuum. Jesus had a powerful, and effective, ministry that saw the merging of both concepts. He gave lavishly in the midst of speaking with clarity about what He was giving meant and represented.
We are told later in the passage that as word spread about His two-pronged relationship with people(truth speaking and blessing) everyone began to come to Him of their own accord. Not that He didn't still travel and seek those who had not yet begun to seek Him. But He began to operate a ministry where He could just "open the doors" and the lost, hurting, and, desperate came running.
How would you like to have a ministry(personal or vocational) that people came to you desperate to hear the truth of God's Kingdom that you had been entrusted to share?
The truth of what you are sharing(the Gospel) becomes a purposeful gift when it is paired with serving those you share with. And the effectiveness of serving exponentially increases when the purpose of serving is shared. You cannot powerfully share with out serving. And you cannot powerfully serve without sharing.
Peoples lives aren't going to be radically altered because you anonymously raked their leaves one day. They aren't going to be shaken to their core by the Gospel if you just do a "drive by" presentation.
We are surrounded by a hurting and lost people. And that is not just a spiritual matter. Last month in a little village of less than 300 people we provided food assistance(meals for a week) to over 150 families out of work and struggling to get by. I promise you that you can walk less than 10 minutes and come to the door of a stranger whose life is falling apart. What are you going to do about it?
Leave a tract?
Anonymously mow their lawn?
Don't do either. Get into their lives,. Care for them in a way that breaks your heart in your love for them. Serve them sacrificially and speak to them boldly.
Do you want to be effective in ministry? Do as Jesus did!
You better not hand this out if you have never cried with your neighbor.
Actually, please never hand this out