It was very exciting for me to be able to introduce Kenna Sunday and hear some of the many ways we will be serving in our community this year. actionchurch started by serving others, and I know that we are going to be even more active and focused on service under Kenna’s leadership.
I want to take a moment though and explain WHY we serve in our community. It’s not just volunteerism…even though actionchurch is made up of volunteers. It’s not just promotion…even though I think the best (and only) advertisement we have as a church is going out into the community to serve. It’s not even just our desire “do Good”. Those are all good reasons…just not THE reason.
The reason we serve and give to others has to be LOVE.
Jesus used words and actions to express his love. His words offended many. They were tough…no nonsense…even harsh at times. Jesus preached of sin, judgement, uncomfortable topics like sex and money, and yes…even Hell. Yet his actions were kind and gentle. He fed the hungry. Healed the sick. Raised the dead. Accepted the outcasts into his company.
It’s tempting as a church (or church goer) to do ONE OR THE OTHER. It’s tempting to just say the words of Jesus without demonstrating his love through service. It’s just as tempting to perform good deeds as Jesus did without also speaking his often offensive words. Neither are enough. Neither by itself is truly loving.
Without demonstrating your love by serving, the teachings of Jesus come across as Judgement. “Confess your sins.” “Repent.” “No one comes to the father except though me. ” “Go and sin no more. ”
I am also convinced that without the Gospel, without the words of Jesus, all of the good deeds in the world will not truly help someone. Do people need food? Yes. A place to live? Absolutely. Medical care? You bet. Do people who have ALL of those things have any less need for Jesus? Not at all!
People need to hear the words of Jesus.
People will often only truly hear the words of Jesus when they experience the good news through the good deeds of his followers.
It’s not either/or.