Jesus reminds us that real, everyday life can be summarized as love for God and for neighbor. God in his wisdom and providence has put the particular people around us that he intends for us to care for. And while there is something familiar about this notion of loving people, we've learned as a church that all of us struggle to go about this task with clarity and confidence.
So with the notion that principles are strengthened by sound practice, we are learning to live out the principle of loving our neighbor by implementing a practice we call BLESS:
As you pray for, listen to and eat with the people that God has put around you, opportunities to serve will present themselves. I find at least two categories of opportunities - 1) those where your particular set of skills come in handy and 2) those where you're capable of meeting a real need, even if it's not something that you're great at or particularly enjoy. So if you bake, maybe once a month you make an extra batch of cookies and take it to your neighbor or the office. Or when your friend's basement is flooded, you show up and run a dry-vac for an hour.
Speaking of, I absolutely blew a great opportunity to help a friend over the weekend with his flooded basement. We spent some time together Saturday afternoon and I met him at his house. We had over 3 inches of rain in 36 hours in Athens and when I got there, his basement was flooded. He told me then that he'd end up coming home and cleaning up and after we came back he mentioned it again. Now I don't think he was looking for my help and the thought didn't cross my mind to stick around and help...until the next morning.
Here's one of the takeaways I had from that: the more often you live out this rhythm, the more naturally you'll act on it. So if you're new to BLESS, you'll probably have a few forehead-slapping moments when you miss some chances to love people well. Don't give up, ask God to help you see the world through his eyes and to provide what you need to serve people well.
Tomorrow - Sharing God's Story