By Not Known
A Caring Society
SMRT train is my main form of transportation to and from work. I have observed orderly and considerate behaviors of fellow passengers – everyone queuing up in a straight line before the train door opens and giving way to outgoing passengers before boarding the train. In the past, passengers used to crowd around and rushed in once the train doors opened. People simply ignored the blasting announcements to stay clear. I am also pleased to see more people offering their seats to the elderly and the needy. Are we truly and gradually becoming a more caring and gracious society? Certainly yes, we read of more cabbies, waiters and other service staff returning large sum of money, wallets, and mobile phones to patrons who had left them behind. Others helped the less fortunate, needy and the sick by contributing monetary and practical assistance. Singaporeans and Permanent Residents have become more responsive to the societal needs. Perhaps, among us are some caring and gracious citizens.
A Caring Church
In the same way, in the context of our church as a caring community, are we also responding to the Lord’s call to be a church that carries one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2)? Praise the Lord for His examples of kindness and love to us all, He is the living and sovereign God who calls us to eagerly desire spiritual gift of love. Jesus saved us from sin and demonstrated to us his compassion and care for us to emulate. He showed compassion to the woman who was ceremonially unclean for 12 years while on his way to raise Jairus’ daughter to life (Mk 5:21-43). He fed the 5,000 men also because of His compassion for them (Mk 6:34).
To be a caring church, we are to be attentive and ready to respond to God’s call. Who is God directing you this week to care for? What attitudes does God want us to adopt? Using the acronym CARE, please prayerfully answer the call to care for someone who worships at ORPC:
When you are seated next to a visitor, you could welcome him or her warmly and introduce yourself with a handshake, help him/her by pointing to the hymn or announcement pages on the bulletin. Invite the visitor to stay for a cup of coffee or tea. Do offer to accompany the visitor to the Dunman Hall to meet other church members at the Guest Table. Walk the extra mile by serving the visitor a cup of coffee or tea and breakfast and chat with him/her as well. In so doing, our visitors will feel welcomed and comfortable in a sea of strangers. You become a host called by God to connect him/her to other church members or to your SG members (if you are in a SG). If you are seated to another church member whom you are meeting for the first time, care for one another by taking the initiative to introduce yourselves, attempt to get to know each other, a small chat will make way for future fellowship. Those who already know each other, how about asking questions that show your care and concern, for example, his/her spiritual well-being, whether he/she is having fellowship with the Saints and whether he/she needs encouragement. Do avoid talking about where and what are the planned venue/menu for lunch if you want a more in depth conversation.
Being approachable is the first step towards caring for one another. We want others to feel welcomed and to experience warmth in the body of Christ. A friendly and cheerful countenance will be most approachable. If we, unconsciously or are unaware that we are pulling long faces or are not smiling most of the time, we are minimisng the opportunities to care and to get to know someone. If we are approachable, we may make many more friends at ORPC. This could lead to meaningful lifelong friendships.
Be Real in our love
Being real portrays love and sincerity. Real love comes from God for He is Love, this is His character (1 John 4:16b). Without His love filling us, we are unable to be real or to truly love others. God’s love is displayed in our sincere or genuine love to others (Rom 12:9). Being real and true to our words and our deeds is God’s call for His children to love others and to experience the heavenly Father’s love through us in and out of the church.
Whenever I meet people, I sometimes run out of words and depth to encourage them. The best way to encourage is through God’s word. His Spirit can minister to those who are discouraged, sad, lost or unhappy. Through the Word of God, others may be reassured, inspired and refreshed in their lives. When we are short of words, think of God’s word and use them. Our presence, genuine care and ministering with God’s word could encourage and touch God’s people.
In conclusion, to CARE for one another is not a few persons’ works, it is everyone’s ministry. CARE takes effort to love others. God’s love is demonstrated through the sacrificing of His Son for us. To care for people, we need to know God and grow spiritually so that we will have the spirituality and maturity to care. Lastly, I strongly encourage you to get to know at least one church member whom you do not know to show your CARE. You too can connect someone to your group of church friends to multiply the joy of caring.