I had this whole blog post mapped out in my head. And then I read a story on CBN news about Tim Tebow. Apparently, he was on a flight when a man went into cardiac arrest. While medical professionals worked to save his life, Tebow prayed with the man’s wife. After the flight landed, Tebow went to the hospital and stayed with her while she waited for news. He was there when she learned her husband had passed away.
The article I read wasn’t about that. It was about how others on the plane reacted. While at least one other passenger posted positively about the event, many others had very negative things to say. One person called Mr. Tebow narcissistic.
As the old saying tells us, no good deed goes unpunished.
A month ago, we talked about how Christians are called to love a world that seems to be going crazy. Two weeks ago, we talked about how Christians are called to love a world that’s increasingly hostile to us. It seems the reaction to Tim Tebow highlights that very point—no matter what we do, somebody’s not going to like it.
So what are Christians supposed to do? Should we sequester ourselves against the angry world? Should we move onto big compounds and grow our own food and order all our goods off the Internet so we can avoid those people?
Jesus’ Great Commission (Matthew 18:19-20) commands us to go into the world and make disciples, not to separate ourselves from the world.
How are we supposed to do that, though, in a culture that is suspicious of us at best, and based on the reaction to Tim Tebow, a culture that truly hates us?
What’s a believer to do?
Tweet this: How do Christians love a needy world? We serve.
I know what you might be thinking: that’s exactly what Mr. Tebow was doing, and look what it got him. He could have stayed in his seat and prayed silently. He didn’t have to reach out to that woman, pray with her, stay with her, and support her. It took time away from his life to do that—it cost him. But he did it anyway. He demonstrated a heart for that woman and her husband. He did what Jesus would have done. He did exactly what we should do.
But we won’t all be on a plane with a guy having a heart attack. So what should this look like in my life, in yours? Check out 1 Peter 4:10: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
Whom should we serve? Well, everybody, but if you want a more specific list, Jesus tells us in Matthew that we should serve those who are hungry, those who are strangers, and those who are in prison. In the book of James, we’re commanded to look after widows and orphans. (See Matthew 25:31-40, James 1:37)
Anybody hungry in your town? Serve at a food bank. Anybody homeless? Support a shelter. No prisons nearby? No problem. Are there any people imprisoned by sin, chained by circumstances? No sojourners in your city? Sure there are—we call them immigrants. Widows—think about single parents. Orphans? They’re in foster care.
The world is desperate for Christ’s hands and feet, desperate for you to use the gifts you’ve been given to serve them, the lost, the broken, the hungry, the needy. They’re everywhere.
Don’t believe me? I live in a very affluent community. We have both a Porsche and a Maserati dealership—along with dealerships selling almost every other luxury car brand—in this suburb. And you know what else we have? Poor people. So one kindhearted Christian woman opened a food bank, where I’m privileged to serve along with hundreds of others. Trust me, even in a town like this one, there are needy, hurting people.
They’re in your town, too. And not just at the food bank. They’re in line at the grocery store, counting their pennies. They’re stranded on the side of the highway in an old clunker, hood up, steam pouring from the engine. They’re in your kids’ schools wearing too much eye makeup, too short shorts, or jeans that desperately need a belt. Many of them are poor—many are rich. Lots are healthy, some are sick.
Maybe you’ll reach out, and the world will question your motives. But Jesus will know the truth—and who else do you need to impress?
Yes, it costs time. It costs money. It costs energy and resources. Sometimes, you’ll hear stories that’ll break your heart. Sometimes, you’ll be compelled to do even more than you’d planned. You’ll not just pray with someone, but you’ll go with them to the hospital, you’ll stay with them while they wait, you’ll be there when they hear the bad news.
And maybe the world will hate you. But Jesus…He’ll smile.
Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, was recently named a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards and won the 2016 Bookstores Without Borders Lyra Award in the Women’s Fiction category. Its prequel, Chasing Amanda, is currently offered for free at all major retailers. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.