I once read:
The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.
I think it is the heart of most people to be a person of grace. I believe most in the church have the intention to go into the world and change lives in the name of Jesus. I am positive people have the greatest intentions in the world for the Kingdom of God to be extended into their communities.
However, I am also convinced that people think it is a task that is too large, too intimidating and allow imaginary scenarios of fear prevent their Kingdom advances. They want to love. They want to invite people to church and know the Savior of all but get stuck in fear of it all.
We are instructed to:
“not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 Jn. 3:18)
The issue we face is that most often we don’t even use our words to tell people about our church or for that matter our God. How do we move from the fear in our mind, to words and then deeds? Does it even have to be in that order? Can actions come first then words? I am not talking about covert evangelism like buying a meal or coffee for the guy headbanging in the beater behind you… I am talking about lasting actions. The reality of the Christian faith is that:
“God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 tim. 1:7; ESV)
Words are one thing, we should always be having conversations. We need to engage the world around us with our story and the story of God. So, work on your words, start with friends and tenderly start a conversation that is more than just what happened on the last Grey’s Anatomy. Start with a struggle, share a success and wait… They will relate back.
Now that we have covered words; let’s talk actions… What are you doing in life right now that is a Jesus action? Again, I have no problems with random acts of kindness like the drive thru purchase but we are called to more. I am an introvert by nature. Give me a book, a beverage and comfy pants then leave me alone; that is how I recharge… But I know that if I am fully living a life for Christ I can’t always sit in my comfy pants. So, what are a few actions we can put in play to build Kingdom relationships? Here are a few suggestions on actions that will speak as loud as words:
- Work somewhere different. I don’t mean, switch careers, I simply mean get out of the office… This allows you to see people, hear their needs and pray for them. Again, I am an introvert but force myself to get out to local coffee shops. When I am out it is amazing what God does if I am listening. I have been able to hear people’s stories and be inspired. I have overhead (insert stalker comment here) people’s heart and been able to help them. God has allow me to pray with people I don’t know and connect with folks I would have never met. Get out there once a week and sit. Listen to the people, see the people and listen for what God is wanting you to discover.
- Use your connections. Everyone has a network and most of us under-utilize it. If you know someone looking for work and you know of a person looking to hire; put yourself out there and connect them. If you use social media for pleasure; look for purpose. Some of us have hundreds of friends that need our prayers and connections.
- Giveback. Sure, this and the actions prior to it are big actions to take but they are worth it. Find a charity, not to give to but to serve at. Find the local shelter where people need to be fed. If you, you are in the Hamilton area checkout Serve City. Get plugged into the local pregnancy center and see what you can do there. I know in this area Pathway to Hope is always in need of great people to help educate young men and women on the way God values life.
- Make eye contact and smile. Maybe, the other listed actions seem too big for now; just tuck them in your brain and use them later. Right now, literally the smallest deed you can do is acknowledge someone with warmth. People are looking for friendly faces… This is as easy as it gets, open your eyes, brush those pearly whites and shine the light of your smile. People need to know that people see them and a smile is a sign of caring. Just try not to make it awkward… A short look, smile and move on will suffice. Don’t over smile, people will find that odd. Don’t try to force the eye contact by staring at a person until they look up at you; then you will be called a creeper. Just eyes, smile, nod and you will be validating a person in the smallest of ways.
What would you add to your list? I would love to hear it. My hope today is that you read this and find the smallest deed and do it… Don’t settle for comfy pants Christianity, put yourself out there and boldly do what you have never done.