Harvey and Irma. Not a very nice couple. The destruction and devastation are immeasurable and the recovery will take years, even after it is no longer being mentioned as news.
The media did make us aware of the kindness and generosity of many folks. People wanted to do something to help. The “Cajun Army” was deployed. HEB sent truckloads of provisions, as well as portable showers and laundry facilities. Thousands of people went down to help with the initial cleanup and gutting of homes that were impacted. I was able to go to La Grange for a few days with a group from our congregation. Harvey had caused the Colorado River to come out of its banks and flooded hundreds of homes there. We were able to help two families salvage what could be saved of their homes.
A recent discussion with a friend reminded me that it is well and good for us to have faith and know that we are forgiven because of what Jesus did through his perfect life, his death in our place, and his resurrection from the dead on the third day. We certainly all need that and it is good that we have it. But we don’t always act like we have been saved. My friend’s concern was that we don’t always let people see Jesus in us.
He raised a valid point. People respond well to big disasters like the ones mentioned above, at least initially. I remember seeing the same kind of unity and cooperation in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Again, that was a good thing to witness. But why do we wait for a disaster to strike to show that kind of love, mercy, compassion, and kindness? Shouldn’t followers of Jesus act that way every day?
Disciples of Jesus should let those around them see Jesus in their lives and actions. Every day. And we often forget to do that. Sometimes, we are not sure what to do, or feel overwhelmed because there are so many needs and way more than we could ever hope to address. If you let yourself get bogged down in that kind of thinking, you will end up not doing anything.
So what is a person to do? My advice is simple. Don’t overthink it – just do it. You can be the face of Christ to someone you encounter today. It really is that simple. Just treat that person with love and care and kindness, the way God treats you, even though you don’t deserve it.
Jesus put it this way: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34–35)
For whom will you be the Face of Christ today?
Michael Mattil is the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Denison. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.