Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the suffering in the world around you? Do you desire to help, but feel inadequate to make a difference? Drs. Jay Smith and Bill Fowler shared the following on being a ‘care-full’ presence in our care-less world during YTI’s Winter LCLI classes.
Care is basic for followers of Jesus
Although surrounded by new forms of communications technology, our world is becoming increasingly disconnected. This disconnection increases individual isolation, which results in a lack of “care” for one another. Yet, care is basic to what it means to be human and precisely what it means to be a follower of Christ.
Throughout the Old Testament, God displays amazing care for the people of Israel and Judah. In the New Testament, God shows His amazing care for the world in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Care is basic. On a very foundational level, every follower of Jesus is inspired to care—to love, unconditionally, his or her neighbor or enemy. It is precisely this willingness to care that changes people, communities, and nations.
Encourage and challenge one another to care – not superficially or sporadically, but as a meaningful part of our lives in Jesus.
Jesus: A model for caring
When it comes to caring for people, nobody tops Jesus. He is the eternal paradigm for caring, and we can learn how to effectively care for others as we examine his life. No one was ever more aware of the sin in people’s lives, and yet no one ever seemed more prepared to look beyond the faults and key into people’s needs. Jesus’ manner was one of building redemptive relationships rather than getting into people’s faces about their sin. The only people with whom Jesus became confrontational were the religious elite of his day, and that was only after they ignored his numerous attempts to demonstrate that the Father intended for mercy, not ritual, to reign. Jesus was accepting and approachable by all. He saw the brokenness of people and was moved to compassion. That compassion was expressed in tears, in healing, in touch, in speaking words of peace, and in meeting everyday needs. In the case of Peter and his denials, Jesus shows us that sometimes caring includes allowing people to fail, but to love them beyond the failure into restoration and ministry. Jesus taught that caring can be costly, and then demonstrated it by his death for us on the cross. He calls us to follow “in his steps.”