Stories surface daily of Baptists and other believers risking personal safety and giving sacrificially to help the people of Ukraine.
At the same time, storms, wildfires and other weather-related situations continue damaging various parts of our country almost weekly now.
Right behind the destructive forces emerges the light shining from disaster relief volunteers.
News reports also seem to always include mention of a mass shooting that happened somewhere overnight or a list of needless murders taking place within families and across neighborhoods.
And standing with the survivors and those left to pick up the pieces are committed followers of Christ, providing needed consolation, support and strength.
It’s not surprising to hear we are running toward those who are hurting — it’s instinctive to do everything we can in crisis moments.
We don’t worry about political party alliances or denominational preferences when a horrifying event devastates a community.
We merely see someone hurting and reach out to help.
The beauty of the moment can easily be missed because of the chaos swirling around the devastation, and once life settles back down the giving spirit also can quickly grow cold again.
But Easter provides the perfect weekend to focus on what our daily lives might look like if we intentionally sought to serve others sacrificially, even outside of the crisis moments.
What does it really mean when we chat in our church circles about “being the hands and feet of Jesus”?
Do we keep a uniform — the Jesus shawl — hanging in our closet, only to pull out when we go on a missions trip or when a tragedy occurs?
How do we reconcile the simple concept in 1 John 4:19 — “We love because He first loved us” — with the way we think about and treat others who think or act differently than we do?
Are we able to see others through the eyes of Jesus?
And are we willing to love them like Jesus loves them even when they have done wrong or are making bad choices?
Pain, disappointment, frustration and fear are part of all our lives, but that doesn’t mean we need to take it out on others.
Why purposefully turn others into enemies and work to destroy them rather than build each other up?
And why would we not look for every opportunity possible to show those who don’t know Jesus a glimpse of the love and grace He has for them?
How will I answer?
Sometimes I imagine how I will explain myself to Jesus when I make it Home. Will I be able to point to all the times I kept my eyes on Him, trusted even when the pain didn’t seem fair and obeyed despite not being able to see the full picture?
Will others have examples of when I genuinely reflected the light of our Savior, or will they quickly turn away, leaving me to the stark reality of the selfish motives of my heart?
‘Ambassadors for Christ (with) ministry of reconciliation’
“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. … Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. …
“For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim … to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. …
“He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. …
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
—2 Corinthians 5