Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Romans 12:10, 12, 13, 15
The entire chapter 12 of Romans illustrates and outlines what being a part of the body means in a very practical way, through the good and bad. Each one of us, as a part of the “Hurricane Response Team,” can be devoted to one another by sharing of both time and resources.
I can always make an excuse for being too busy to do something. I am a fairly selfish person (marriage has helped magnify that flaw exponentially), especially with my time. For example, yesterday I went to the Miami-Dade courthouse for jury duty. And, even though I am studying the law and appreciate our legal system and understand the importance and constitutionality of this civic duty, I was still somewhat annoyed that I had to spend even one day of my summer reporting for jury duty. (I wasn’t picked as a juror).
But time is something we can all give. While discussing Job this past weekend in our community group, it became clear that sometimes all you can do to comfort or support is just give your time. Just being with someone who is suffering, without saying a word or attempting to offer an explanation, is a gift. In our hectic society time seems like such a precious commodity, but it isn’t ours to begin with. I find it is much easier to give away that which I realize I don’t even deserve to possess.
Job’s friends may have botched the loving support strategy once they opened their mouths, but their first response was an important model to follow. They went to be with their friend who was grieving immensely, and they sat with him, silently, for 7 days. (Job 2 :11-13). They gave days of their time to just be with Job. Love is being patient in affliction- whether it be your own or a friend’s. As described by our pastor, God’s love has its own pace, which may be an inconvenience to our busy schedules.
Sharing Emotional Capital.
I like to rejoice with those who are rejoicing. Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and graduations are easy to get excited for. I don’t generally have the same enthusiasm, however, for attending a funeral or visiting a sick family member in the hospital. Just reading about Job’s story this past Sunday in church was draining emotionally, not to mention hearing first hand stories of struggle from our new church friends in community group. But we are called to be drained, in a sense. To mourn with those who mourn involves connecting and entering in to the pain of another. This will be impossible to endure if we are not connected to the source of all love and life.
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said,
streams of living water will flow from within him.
Oswald Chambers describes the impact of believing in God and being connected to the true Source:
If you want to be of use to God, maintain the proper relationship with Jesus Christ by staying focused on Him, and He will make use of you every minute you live— yet you will be unaware, on the conscious level of your life, that you are being used of Him.
I want to get to the point where I can fully love and connect with a suffering friend, without running out of God’s love and wisdom to give. I want to be so seamlessly connected to my Lord, that my cup is continuously overflowing onto those around me!
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.
We each have gifts and a unique role in the body of Christ. Romans 12 gives examples of gifts, such as teaching, serving, prophesying, encouraging, giving, leadership and showing mercy. We don’t all have the same function, but each function is essential.
I know that each person who reads this blog has a unique gift, a special way of reaching out.
I pray that we will be sensitive to God’s call for us to initiate contact with a friend or family member who may be suffering. Jobs friends did not wait for Job to go ask for help, but rather went to him first. Job certainly went through more than I hope anyone I know has to deal with, but that doesn’t mean our brothers and sisters don’t need us tremendously. Whether it be offering a meal, helping clean up a house, lending a car, offering to babysit, treating a friend to coffee or just spending time with someone, we all can give something. We all can love practically with the time, resources and gifts we have been given.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)