Lesson based on: 1 John 4:7 – 19
In the last couple of weeks, teachings in my local church have been focusing on pastoral care. The term pastoral does not mean that this function is exclusively the duty of the Pastor, Elders or Leaders in the church. It lies at the core of Christian ministry. We are called to love one another through caring and sharing.
It is so easy for us to be so busy in service that we do not take care to attend to the needs of the people we are serving. Some people easily share their burdens, while others need assuring and caring attention before they are free enough to share what they are going through.
This reminds me of a story told by the late Rev Don Robinson, in his sermon, “The Caring Church”. A preacher was running late when he pulled into a full-service gas station for fuel. A little guy came out from office. He had a cap pulled down low, his face was covered with acne, his hair was greasy, and his pants were so large he had to keep pulling them up. The guy spoke poorly and slowly.
It seemed to take forever for him to pump the gas. When the preacher gave him his credit card, it took several minutes before he came back to say they didn't accept that card.
The preacher then gave him another card only to learn after several more minutes that it didn't work. Finally in desperation, he asked, "Do you still take cash?" The little fellow then took several more minutes to make change and return it. The preacher was so furious when he left that he backed up and spun his tires as he left the station!
A few blocks away, the Holy Spirit began to convict him about his impatience and rudeness to the attendant. He drove back up and the little guy was to scared to come out of the office! Finally, the preacher said to him, "I'm really sorry for the way I treated you." The man pushed back his toboggan and said, "That's okay mister. everybody treats me that way."
There are a lot of people who might say, "Everybody treats them that way." In a cold, lonely, impersonal world, those who take time to care for others are the exception not the rule. When we receive Christ, we not only enter into a relationship with him, but with every other believer. We are called to serve and care for.
Everyone wants to be part of a caring church. One statement I often hear from people who are searching for a church home is "We want a church where people really care about each other."
I suppose it is also true that every church wants to be a caring church. However, caring churches are made up of caring individuals.
If we are going to be a caring church, the kind of church that makes an impact on people, each of us must learn to care for others.
Why we must care for one another
1. Because Christ loved us, we are owed a debt of love to others. (1 John 4:19)
2. Because Christ built a caring church (Acts 2:44 - 45)
3. It demonstrates who we are – The world preaches self-enrichment and self-actualisation. Scripture preaches looking out for others over and above our own interests (Philipians 2:4)
4. When we care for others, we are giving a ‘loan’ to the Lord…and God never owes. He pays back with interest! (Proverbs 19:17)
How can we care for others?
1. Cultivate friendships. If you want a friend, then be a friend. If you want to be loved, then you need to be a lovable person
2. Respond to the needs of others through giving, prayers and encouragement.
3. Be sensitive when the Holy Spirit speaks to us about others
4. Be a participant, not a spectator
What are the benefits for caring for one another
1. We become stronger together
2. Where there is love, the presence of God will always have a place to operate
3. Others will see us and will be drawn to the Lord as they see us demonstrate love one for another
4. When people’s needs are met, they are able to serve God without being distracted by their needs.
5. Opportunity opens up for ministry to others (2 Kings 4, 8: 1-6)
We have all been given different gifts and callings in the church. Caring for one another however, is one of those things expected of every one of us. Let us not be too religious like the priest who walked by the injured man in Luke 10 or too busy like the Levite who needed to get to the synagogue to get ready for service rather than care for the injured man.
Let us be like the Good Samaritan, who could not be bothered whether the wounded person was a Jew or a Samaritan. He gave his time, his money and effort into ensuring that the injured man was nursed back to recovery.
May the Lord help us to get into the habit of caring for one another and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit whenever he moves us to meet the needs of others.
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in Kent, United Kingdom, where he works as an IT Professional. He currently serves as a Worship Leader, Home Group Leader and Bible Teacher in his local church. He also speaks at invited events. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org