Special opportunities to reach out
The season of Thanksgiving and Christmas is a very special time of the year. The leaves have, for the most part, changed color and fallen from the trees. The morning air is crisp with just a hint of frost to be seen as the sun rises. We have converted back to standard time and we put the headlights on as we leave for work in the morning and return home in the evening. Celebration is in the air! Three professional and college sports are ongoing and the race to being crowned champions is close. For many, the first semester of college is almost complete and churches have been working on Christmas music since late summer. Some folks have tried to get a jump on the season by putting up lights and decorations. Yes, it is a time of great busyness and most of us have already been caught up in the excitement and fast pace of the world around us.
This is also a time of the year for opportunities to share God’s love with those who are less fortunate than us. It is a time for Sunday School classes to share their God-given blessings with members of their church family and the community. This sharing may be in the form of financial help, food baskets, or just a period of time where the focus is on someone else. What a blessing it would be for a Sunday School class or a family to volunteer at a local homeless shelter or food kitchen to prepare and serve a meal to those less fortunate. Food pantries need help with stocking shelves, distributing food, and financial assistance is welcome at any time. There are many opportunities available to us and we need to be intentional about taking advantage of them. Just think of the example you will be providing for your children! There is nothing quite as sweet as missions in action! God is waiting to provide you, your family, and your Sunday School class a blessing. Don’t miss it!
As Thanksgiving rushes past, Christmas is just ahead and the pace quickens. Church families have the opportunity to provide third-world children with necessities, toys, and the Gospel message. You can adopt a family where one of the parents has been incarcerated. The Marine Corps offers the opportunity to brighten a child’s Christmas with their “Toys for Tots” program. Again, ministries serving the less fortunate offer limitless opportunities for the Christian community to share out of their God-given bounty.
This is a time of the year when most Sunday School classes have a Christmas social or fellowship. It is a time to invite four categories of people to participate in the fellowship. The first group are those who are attending class most Sundays. The second group is comprised of those on the class roll but are not regular attenders. The third group is comprised of prospects identified for the class. The fourth group is comprised of those who would be in your class if they were not serving somewhere else on Sunday morning (your associate members). What a grand opportunity to minister to each other with fellowship, friendship, and the love of Christ. By the way, you might want to have your fellowship following your community mission project. Just a thought!
As I look at the introduction to this article, I must consider what is implied. I realize that I have my health, a home, a car, a job, a family, friends, sufficient resources, but most of all, I have a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! I know that many of you can identify with these blessings as well.
As children of God and as citizens of America, we are blessed beyond measure and sometimes we forget to recognize that all we have is because of God’s grace and love. It is time to lift our individual and collective voices with praise for our God. If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your praise should be free flowing and focused on the King!
It is said that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” We must remember that, for the believer, every day is “the season!” Don’t miss the opportunities God is providing for you to share His love and grace. We are truly a blessed people. I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities God gives you every day to share His love and grace with your community. God will bless you in a mighty way! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas season. (Bruce Morrison is the MBC’s director of Sunday School / discipleship ministry.)