By Not Known
My wife and I recently had a short break in Auckland, New Zealand, a city where we served over a 6-year period and made many friends. Many were from churches we served in but there were others whom we met along the way. It was a joy to be able to catch up with some of them and see how they were doing spiritually. In Acts 15:36 Paul says to Barnabas “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” We met some over coffee or a meal, others we heard about “through the grapevine”.
There was a lady who was very good at producing skits, using drama to convey spiritual lessons. Having served with Youth With A Mission before she married she had produced simple skits for evangelistic events, and did longer productions for special services in one of the churches we served in. We were told during this trip that she still continued to do so, to great effect.
We met a young man who worked as a dentist but because he had to work on Sundays mornings, missed his usual church services. He knew this pattern was not helpful for him spiritually, and over a year ago, he had said he should make changes to the Sunday routine so that he could attend services. However a year on, he said exactly the same thing again indicating there had been no change.
There was a man who arrived in Auckland alone 5 years ago and just walked into a Bible study I was leading. He came to faith and I followed him up with regular Bible studies which had to be simple because he was from Seoul. This man had left his stressful job as a broker to start afresh in a foreign country. He learned carpentry at a polytechnic and had to work long hours. Two years later his two daughters joined him, attending school with no knowledge of English. Four months ago his wife also left her job in Seoul and now the family is together. What courage! However church-wise, he may not be regular.
We also called on a widow who lost her husband nearly two years ago. I had the joy of conducting a brief rededication of their 50th wedding anniversary before he had to be placed in a seniors home due to deteriorating health. We sometimes prayed with this couple before we left in the past, and were just about to rush out when the widow asked that we pray together, which was just lovely.
In a nutshell, people grow spiritually, or they stop for different reasons. This is why we need to “see how they are doing” as the apostle did. We need to care for each other by asking “How are you doing spiritually?” in our small groups, in our personal interaction, in our committees and discipleship groups. We cannot take for granted that all is well. We need to check on and remind each other of the need to grow. If we don’t grow there are forces which pull us back, rather like walking up an escalator which is going down. Effort is needed to move upwards and onwards. Let’s ask each other often in Christian love: “How are you doing spiritually?”