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Servant Evangelism

"He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." ~ Matthew 10:40-42 (KJV)

Many of you may not have heard of the term “servant evangelism” but it is showing the love of God through our own caring and loving actions toward others. I prefer the definition “love with its work clothes on.” It has become more popularly known in today’s world as “Random Acts of Kindness”. Sometimes it’s the simplest acts of kindness that have the most lasting effects.

Last Sunday I was blessed to have a message, “Smile, God Loves You” taped

to my driver side window on my truck. It was just a simple message put there by the kids in children’s church, but it blessed me so much that I’ve kept it pinned up at my desk at work this week. In today’s world it is so easy to get bogged down by the negativity we see in our day-to-day lives. From the media focusing on the bad things happening around us to bullying in our schools to the unhappy person standing next to us in the grocery line, one thing is abundantly clear: We need to spread God’s love to combat the ugly in this world. And it’s great to see our children learning to do the same.

In Matthew 10:42, Jesus speaks of sharing a cup of water. He isn’t speaking of just sharing a drink with someone. He’s talking about sharing ourselves; the practicality of living a Christian life; a life full of relationships, both with God and with our fellow men and women. He’s talking about the humble act of giving a piece of ourselves to others, and about sharing in practical ways and not just in abstract terms.

One reason servant evangelism is such an effective outreach tool, is because they give our message credibility. Even though people may not know anything else about us, they know we have done something selfless for them that is not only unusual, but probably unlike anything they have ever experienced before. We are demonstrating faith in a very practical way. James wrote about the importance of demonstrating our faith.

"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." ~ James 2:14-18

Let me give you an example of how this works. A pastor

had gathered a selected group of workers to train them for evangelism. A young worker was complaining about one of the people he had visited. The young man said, "I tried to tell him about Jesus, I tried to tell him about the love Jesus had for Him. I tried to tell him that Jesus was interested in helping him to live a life of grace, to help him with the burdens he was caring. But the man replied in this manner, "I am a poor old man and must stagger under this load of firewood that I had so much trouble in cutting. I can feel nothing of the love of God. I can feel nothing of God caring for my burdens. I can feel nothing of his grace for me."

The pastor turned to the young, depressed worker and said, "My son, if you would have offered to carry his load of wood for him. He would have believed in your words because he would have not only have heard about the love of God for him, but he would have seen an illustration of love in you.’’

When people see compassion and kindness actually being lived out, rather than only talked about, it carries a tremendous amount of weight. My sister Jan started something last year, she would go to the Hardees’ drive thru every Wednesday morning and buy the person’s breakfast behind her. I thought that was a great idea and started doing the same this year. So, every Wednesday I go through the drive-thru, sometimes at Hardees for breakfast, and sometimes at lunch elsewhere, and I buy the person’s meal behind me. I have received messages while I’m at work from people thanking me for picking up their tab. They had recognized my truck and knew it was me. I have heard messages: “You made my morning”, “It was exactly what I needed at that time”, and “Thank you I was so blessed!” I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous about doing it the first time. Part of me wanted to chicken out and not do it. But if Jesus was willing to die to demonstrate His love for me, then I can deal with a moment of potential awkwardness to demonstrate love toward someone else. Now I think about how what I’m about to do is going to put a smile on someone else’s face and give that person a story he or she will probably tell to other people before the end of the day. Maybe this act will become contagious and these people in return will do the same for someone else. I want God to get that glory. It’s not about me at all, it’s about giving another individual whom God loves and opportunity to experience that love. I trust that God has put just the right person in line behind me, and I go for it. It is amazing how my small gesture gives me credibility not only with the person I’m serving, but also with the drive-thru employees. When I ask to pay for the person behind me, a huge smile lights up the cashier's face. I can imagine that God is smiling at me as well.

You could get started all by yourself and do these servant evangelism outreaches. You could take our example and pay for the person behind you when you are going through a drive-thru or any other idea. Here is a list of 25 simple ideas you can begin with:

1. Smile at everyone you see.

2. Offer to walk your neighbor’s dog.

3. Volunteer to pick up garbage in your neighborhood.

4. Thank a police officer or firefighter for their service.

5. Bake cookies and take them to your teacher or Sunday School teacher.

6. Visit a nursing home and play games with the elderly.

7. Ask your family members how you can serve them each day.

8. Pray for someone who is hurting.

9. Let someone go ahead of you in line.

10. Hold the door open for a stranger.

11. Make cards that say “you are special” and hand them out to people you don’t know.

12. Put money in someone’s parking meter.

13. Compliment someone.

14. Hand out sack lunches to the homeless.

15. Organize a day of pampering for a mom who just had a baby.

16. Cook meals for a family who is going through a difficult time.

17. Visit terminally sick children in the hospital.

18. Donate games to a group home.

19. Buy gift cards to random places and hand them out to random people.

20. Pay for the person’s coffee in line behind you.

21. Draw pictures of God’s love and hand them out to those who could use hope.

22. Thank your local librarians for making sure you have great books to read.

23. Make a treat bag and hand it out to your postal delivery person.

24. Read a book to someone.

25. Give someone a hug.

The wonderful thing about spreading love through random acts of kindness is that it is pleasing to God and it feels great! There is so much truth in Acts 20:35,

"I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." ~ Acts 20:35 (KJV)

Not only does blessing those around you help spread God’s love, it is also a great tool to restore faith and hope to a fallen world. Some people have such a low view of themselves, it often takes repeated acts of kindness for them to start to believe God could actually love them as they are. The more people we get out there doing servant evangelism, the more they will see that. It is how we can make a difference in a culture consumed by social media statuses and who is the “biggest” and “best”. It is how we can quiet the loudness of the world’s lust for money and fame and exalt the One who is able to save our soul.

Take the time to do some of the 25 things above and see how it affects your family and those around you. I encourage you to not limit yourself to just these 25 things. Create more ideas not listed to continually spread the love of Jesus with your family. Let’s go out into this world and spread God’s love every chance we get!

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