The articles in our recent newsletter are all about words—words that changed the course of people’s lives, words they want to speak into the lives of those who are suffering, words that open our eyes to the experiences of homelessness and addiction. Words are necessary.
With words, God spoke the universe into existence. With words, He has revealed His heart in Scripture. In many ways, the gift of language connects us to the Lord and to one another. Still, for humankind, words only go so far. You and I cannot create universes. We cannot change hearts. There isn’t a perfect sentence that will compel any person living in homelessness to seek the help he or she needs. We cannot force change. Nor do we want to.
Scripture says there is something that speaks louder than words: our actions. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another…by this shall all men know you are my disciples,” (John 13:34-35) and “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven,” (Matthew 5:16). What is more impactful than our offer of help? What says, “Real change is possible” louder than words? A redeemed life. A relational life. A life lived in the open where God’s love and power are on display.
“What says, ‘Real change is possible’ louder than words? A redeemed life. A relational life. A life lived in the open where God’s love and power are on display.”
This is the story of Eric, Elizabeth, and Jennifer who’ve chosen to share their testimonies in these articles and in the TV and radio spots airing across our region. They are glorifying God publicly through their testimonies and demonstrating God’s power to seek and save the lost. This is what you’re doing when you partner with us, providing a place for people to come and experience the love of Christ through staff, volunteers, and residents. And this is how you make a difference when you connect with men and women living on our streets with no hope or battling addiction. Learning their names, memorizing their faces, seeking to be someone they’ll remember and ultimately trust.
I confess, I have not always led well in this area. By nature, I am more of a “fixer” than a good listener, but as is true with all of us, God is not done with me. I am learning the value of listening to hear instead of listening to respond. I am learning that, often, the most compelling love we can offer is a love that says, “You matter, you’re worthy of my time, tell me about yourself.”
Friends, let us be a people through whom the light of Jesus shines. In small ways and in large ways, in rare opportunities and in those that occur daily, I pray our actions speak louder than our words. We are not going to convince all who need help to come to the Mission, but we can be conduits for the compelling love of Christ, and there is no limit to what He can do with that.
This article was published in the September Mission News.
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