n Editor’s note: Area ministers who would like to be part of this feature can contact Joan von Kampen at 308-535-4707 or email@example.com. Submissions may be edited for length or to conform to newspaper style.
A new creation
In Galatians 6, the Apostle Paul tells us: Help the person who needs help. It’s a mission! Don’t condemn and judge the person! Lovingly give that person a hand up, and a hand back to the spiritual, godly place that they know they have strayed away from and need to return to.
One of the greatest gifts we can give another person is to simply show an interest in them. Be their friend. And whether this gift is related to a specific situation or is symbolic of an ongoing commitment, we each benefit from that friendship.
To protect someone is to walk with them in challenging times and see them safely through to the other side. In doing this, we grow with them, and they gain confidence from our support and assistance. By supporting them, we enable them to persevere and get through almost any situation they may face. Give them the benefit of your wisdom and experience.
There are many reasons that we feel inspired to serve as friends and helpers to those we care for, but we might also be with those whom we don’t know, but who still need us.
Sometimes just being present with somebody can allow them to grow or heal.
We may simply want to see that a person is taken care of and equipped to overcome difficult or even tragic circumstances.
We may also possess knowledge that the other may be lacking that will help the situation.
We may be in a position of providing someone with emotional, psychological and spiritual support that prepares and strengthens them for the challenges yet to come.
You know, God is calling us to connect with other people. This is mission work and it’s a part of God’s calling to us.
Our ability to identify and sympathize with those that we help is one of our greatest assets, because our comprehension of their needs allows us to determine how we can best serve them. Even when this understanding is limited, the loving intentions with which we enter our role as helper ensure that our care and protection helps others to grow as individuals gracefully.
Paul says, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load. … Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A person reaps what they sow.”
As new creatures in Christ, we can begin to produce fruits of the Spirit with the help, fertilizing, nurturing and pruning of the Holy Spirit. Some of these fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, persistence and determination, as well as kindness, goodness, faithfulness, hope, gentleness and self-discipline.
Paul says, “If we live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule.” Good advice!
The Rev. Jan Ekstedt
First Christian Church