Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bibles and Beans

Today’s issue of the International Mission Board’s (IMB) monthly Prayer Points shares this info: “In December, the Radfords* will invite their poor neighbors, about 25 people, to their home for a simple meal. During the evening they will share the story of Jesus and give them New Testaments and other resources such as rice, beans and flour to help make their lives easier. Pray that this outreach will plant seeds and lead to a desire to follow Christ.” (*name changed).

Obviously, this missionary couple lives in an area of the world where it is dangerous to profess Christ, and could lead to harm for their family or those they serve, if their real names were publicized. At Christmas-time, as in their daily contact with those they hope to see embrace the Lord, they combine Scripture with kindness.

How often we have our own agenda. If we do venture outside our comfort zones, we try to encourage folks to attend church, a Bible study, or perhaps a Christmas program. Of course, we realize their most-pressing need is salvation through Christ, and we often emphasize that at the beginning, which they may perceive as “shoving religion” down their throats. Jesus showed a better way: he modeled servant evangelism. Consider his life as he walked among the people. Matthew 9 shows him restoring health (vs. 7, 22, 35), dining with those outside the religious circle of the day (vs. 10), raising the dead (vs. 25), giving sight to the blind (vs. 29-30), and freeing one from demon-possession (vs. 32-33).
Our Lord performed these merciful acts as he “went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, [and] preaching the good news of the kingdom.” (vs. 35).
In their Christmas outreach, the IMB missionaries presented the “bread of life” (John 6:35) with physical bread, modeling Jesus’ example. People were drawn to the Savior by his merciful acts of compassion; as he met their physical needs, their hearts were softened to receive his life-changing message.
In these hectic days of the Christmas season, may we slow down enough to minister to the needs of others, and look for doors to open to a gospel witness.
“Go, tell it on the mountain…that Jesus Christ is born!”
Best wishes from lefthandrightbrain:)