As Director of Outreach, I often notice that people don’t see themselves as capable of reaching their neighbors, coworkers or community.
Before coming on board at Hoboken Grace, I wasn’t entirely sure God could use me to reach others either. I felt held back by my lack of knowledge. I didn’t have a degree from some prestigious seminary, I couldn’t speak or read the Bible’s original Greek or Hebrew, and I couldn’t tell you where Capernaum is on a map. I did know, however, two things: I loved people and I loved Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t call us to be perfect. He doesn’t call us to know everything there is to know about God or the Bible. He simply asks us to follow.
Two passages in the Bible highlight the fundamentals of what it means to follow God. In the Great Commandment, a passage in Matthew 22, Jesus tells us that first we must love God and then we must love others. In the Great Commission, Matthew 28, He takes this idea a step further, asking those who have a relationship with Him to teach others to love God and to love others.
You may not have a seminary degree. You may not know the biblical Greek word for water. But don’t let those things hold you back from reaching others. Jesus says that if you’re in a relationship with Him, you CAN reach people. In fact, you should.
First, you have to make the decision to love people. That’s right, it’s a decision — because sometimes you’re not going to feel like it. Then, you have to put that love into action.
So, what are some practical ways to reach people? Great question.
One thing I love to do, with my wife’s knowledge of course, is up my tip when I pay for dinner or lunch. Sometimes I like to leave 30 percent instead of the standard 15 or 20 percent. Why? Well, in part, I was a server once. I know how much they make. But it’s more than that: it helps the server realize things that God knows about them and feels for them. They are cared for, they are valued and they are remembered.
The next time you’re in line at the grocery store, ask the cashier what their favorite flavor of gum is and add it to the conveyor belt to give to them.
Find out how your coworkers like their coffee and bring it to them one morning, no questions asked and no strings attached.
Buy an extra water bottle while it is still hot outside and give it to someone on the street who looks like they could use it.
If you go to the same coffee spot or breakfast joint on a regular basis, learn the barista’s name and USE IT! People love to hear their name, and it’s a great way to make someone feel special.
I encourage you to get creative, step out and see just how God can use you.
If you’re interested in trying it out with someone, join our Simple Service Team, which exists for that exact purpose. We do small, practical things within our community that will hopefully elicit a smile. If you’ve gotten a granola bar on your commute, chances are you’ve seen our team in action.
Have other ideas for how to reach people? I’d love to hear them. In the meantime, I can’t wait to see how God will use you to show others His love.
Interested in Simple Service? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.