February 2017 – We are a generation that has forgotten to love. We are young students and professionals busy with our studies and budding careers, trying to lay down a financial foundation for the future, all the while living in the confines of our own concerns and drowning out the rest of the world with our headphones.
There are people all around us – brothers and sisters – who need someone to invest in them, to come alongside them in their walk with Christ, and we pass them by without thinking. We say all the right things, but act as if the world, the church, and Christ Himself are here to serve us until it is convenient for us to serve others. We forget that Christ didn’t say, “Take up your cross and follow Me, when it’s convenient.” Rather, the Scripture teaches us that we are “one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:5).
So, perhaps it’s time to reprioritize. At any age, it is human nature to be so caught up in our own lives that we forget to invest in the lives of others. It is within our fallen nature to always put ourselves first. But when we see it, we can put into practice Philippians 2:3, “…in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” The best place to start this is in your church.
Give to your church
In the church setting, giving financially is a great way to minister to the body as a whole. If you know of a specific need in the church, you could write a check or use an envelope and notate how you wish the money to be used. The amount does not matter, only your heart. You may not be able to give at all, but there are many other ways to minister in your local church.
Serve church leaders
We often forget the hard work of our church leaders and the challenges they face on a daily basis. They may receive a bit of recognition on Pastor Appreciation Day, but they pour out every day, every week, every year. We receive the blessing of their work with little thought of pouring back into them.
Blessing them could be as simple as offering to do yard work one weekend, looking after the minister’s property while he and his wife go on a short vacation, or giving a gift certificate to your pastor’s favorite book store. In Philemon, Paul commends his friend for “refreshing the hearts of the Lord’s people” (Philemon 1:7). Let’s do our best to be Philemons in the lives of our pastors.
Help those in need
A part of the danger of focusing only on our own lives is that we are blind to the real, urgent needs of other people in our church. This may especially apply to widows, single mothers, and the disabled. It could be something as simple as sitting with them during church fellowships, letting them know that you care for and love them. There may be a fatherless boy in your church who needs the influence of a mature man in his life or a motherless girl who needs to be befriended by a mature woman.
Ask others how to pray for them
The simplest and perhaps most effective way to minister in the lives of others is to pray for them. Ask them in private if there is anything specific that you can pray for, and chances are they will open up to you, and your friendship will grow deeper.
Remember the elderly
The elderly are one group in the church that has been least engaged by the younger generation, partly because we have segregated ourselves and primarily spent time with people our own age. Here’s what Charles Spurgeon said about this issue:
Some are like the sun going down in the west; they will be gone soon. Serve them, dear brethren. You that are in health and vigour, comfort them, strengthen them, and help them all you can. Be a joy to that dear old man, who has been spared to you even beyond the allotted threescore years and ten, and praise God for the grace that has upheld him through his long pilgrimage. Look on his grey hairs as a crown of glory; make his descent to the grave as easy as you can. He once was as young as you are; he once had the vigour that you have. Console him, cheer him, give him the respect that is due to his many years. Do not let him feel that you consider him an old fogey who lingers, superfluous, on the stage; but learn from his experience, imitate his perseverance, and ask God to be with you in your old age, as He is with him.
Concern yourself with others’ growth
At the heart of all these things must be a genuine love for Christ and the church. Without this love, all our good actions are merely self-righteousness. Throughout our days as busy students, employees, or even husbands and wives, there are always moments that can be used to impact another brother or sister. While we carry on with our duties, we are still called to love one another as we love ourselves. This is how we live in the unity we have together in Christ.
Jordan Chamblee is a writer for Engage magazine, a multi-platform AFA ministry aimed at the Millennial Generation. Also known as Generation Y, Generation Me, and Echo Boomers, Millennials are generally defined as those born between 1980 and 2000. engagemagazine.net