Love In Action
This month, ONE&ALL kicks off the second annual LOVE IN ACTION initiative. The reason that we mobilize so many people to meet the needs of our communities is deeply rooted in church history.
In 251 AD, Rodney Stark records that a church in Rome took care of 1500 widows. Yes, you read that right. During the plagues in the first four centuries, it was the Christian community who rose to the occasion to save lives while doctors ran out to the countryside to save themselves. The early church father Tertullian claimed, “It is our care for the helpless, our practice of loving-kindness that brands us in the eye of many of our opponents” (Stark, Rodney - The Rise of Christianity). Where did they learn this from?
In the first 100 years of the church, we read in the book of Acts that Christians sold their possessions to help those in need. For example, a Christian named Barnabas sold his piece of land to help widows in need. These acts of compassion led non-Christians to seek out what this lifestyle of love was all about. Then there was the ‘love your enemies’ thing. WHAT? So there were 2 layers, loving those in your church, but also those who probably hate you as well. Where did they learn this from?
The people who walked with Jesus for 3 years, both men and women, saw how Jesus had compassion on those who were helpless, hopeless and lost. As Jesus went around healing the sick, feeding the hungry, finding the lonely and connecting to those not of the Jewish race, His disciples witnessed His unwavering love and compassion for those who were in need. Then while he hung on the cross, they saw Him pray and forgive those who had brutally beaten, mocked and drove nails into Him.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the early church transformed the world during the first four centuries through their acts of compassion, through taking care of widows and orphans, rescuing the unborn, elevating women, caring for the sick and so much more.
Our communities today face the same challenges. Yes, just look around. What are we supposed to do? I suggest we look at Jesus and the early Christians. If every Christian at ONE&ALL lived with compassion in our communities, I believe with all my heart there would be transformation both cultural and personal as people come to know Jesus.
Psalm 103:4b says God crowns you with favour and compassion. A crown is worn on the head and is visible for everyone to see. The Apostle Paul tells us to clothe ourselves with compassion (Col 3:12). The idea is compassion should be evident in our lives as Christians; visible for all to see.
I pray compassion becomes a way of life for our church and for you. Why? That’s how we change the world. That is how we represent Jesus to the world.
Let's flood our communities with compassion.
You can make a difference!
Backpack Drive: July 12th-25th
All Church Serve Week: July 25th-August 1st
Love In Action