After I moved to this apartment, a friend of mine showed up to visit me. She had heavy bags of stuff – groceries. What I hadn’t expected that those were for me. She hadn’t held back on ‘brands’ nor prices. As I was unpacking them after she left, I started to cry with the thought she had put in to the purchasing and also how well she had got to know me. Every thing in those bags were just the brands and items that I liked. She knows my allergies and my restrictions and no, she never made fun of me for them but rather accommodated that in her purchases. I know God will bless her richly for her act of love meeting me where my needs are. It wasn’t easy shifting to an apartment after having been in a room without cooking facilities and having downsized so much giving it all away to benefit another.. Getting the basic cooking ingredients and cleaning agents was priority and she knew that.. Other things get put down for ‘later’ purchase whenever that later comes if and when God wills that is.
Ever so often, more often than not, we reach out and help people in the way we perceive the need to be. Sometimes people treat another to a meal the way they like it instead of what they would like. Sometimes we treat people who can’t afford things to once in a blue moon lavish meal. I wonder how often they would think while they eat that, that if only that was given wisely instead of one day of extravagance, they could have had a number of nutritious meals on the table. Sometimes we go and spend some time at various homes and go all out to give them a good time – but just once a year.. How would that make them feel? Would it mean to them that they are just to be loved once in a while that they don’t deserve visits and care regularly?
Well meaning Christians reach out to the slums and lower income groups to help them ‘come up’ in life, helping the children with their studies and stationery. Yet they sometimes go to the next level of teaching them hygiene and cleanliness with all good intentions. What can these people do if they don’t have access to proper facilities and have to manage with what they have? Would our ‘forcing’ our ways and understanding upon them make them feel like they are not ‘good enough’ people because of their lacks? Could we be emotionally scarring them to further discourage them?
Scripture tells us,
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead – James 2:12-17
It’s interesting to note that the clause in this situation is for a ‘brother or a sister’ (obviously in Christ!).
Jesus would go up the mountain to meet with His Father and would COME DOWN to meet with the people. Not only did He come down from the mountain to reach out to His people to where they were at, He also said:
“I am the bread that came down from heaven.” – John 6:41
He left His comfort zone, His place of fulfillment to show His love to us, to sacrifice Himself to bridge the gap between us and our Heavenly Father. Likewise Jesus tells us to
Therefore GO and make disciples of all nations – Matthew 28:19
Of all nations – of all types of people, ethnic groups, class, statuses…
We need to go down to where the people are, to the level that they are at, to ‘meet’ them to understand what it means to step into their shoes and to have fellowship with them. It first of all changes us as it takes us away from our comfort zones and reveals our idols and our crutches. It breaks down our mindsets that are like a cage which make us a one man island.
Fellowship doesn’t mean saying hi and bye after a fun time but rather it is about getting to know one another and understanding their needs, sharing what is on hand and mutually edifying one another. That is what fellowship is all about. True fellowship broadens our horizons and reduces our judgmental nature as we see the ‘other side’ too and learn to understand that our perspectives are not truth!
Jesus had fellowship with the people – after the sermon on the mount, He knew the people were hungry and didn’t want to send them on their way without food. He didn’t ask them for money nor did He ask them to ‘contribute’. He multiplied what was on hand.. sharing goes a long way.
Jesus had fellowship with the Father to understand the Father’s will and align His will with the Father.
- What is your fellowship all about? An act of good deeds for show or an ongoing sacrificial loving your neighbour AS YOURSELF?
- What is your relationship with God like?
- Is there anything or anyone that God is burdening on your heart that comes in the way of you being a believer after God’s heart?
- Is there anyone of your neighbours (those God has placed in your lives) that God is placing on your heart to have sincere fellowship with and try to meet needs? What did the early church of Acts do?
- Do you know people with various needs? Finances, selling of a house, need of a job, health issues – yes first go down on your knees as God is the ONE with the answers. Seek Him truthfully – is there anything you can do to help or any one you can connect them with to help in a tangible way?
We need to leave our high horses and go down to the other person’s level and step into their shoes to reach out effectively.