My Neighbor is My Ministry
Forward Thinkers, last week we focused on our position before, during, and after the storms of life. Today, with great joy, I can announce the Green House International Church and its partners served and assisted over ten thousand people while standing on the promises of God and encouraging our neighbors that there is hope after Hurricane Harvey.
“Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Forward Thinkers, today I want to look at My Neighbor Is My Ministry.
Before we read the opening text in the Bible, let’s remember, some of the greatest acts of ministry don’t take place behind the pulpit but in the midst of the people outside the comfort zone of the four walls of the church.
Forward Thinkers, if we look closely at the ministry of Jesus, most of the work and miracles of his ministry took place outside the church. Forward Thinkers, maybe some of the stuff we call ministry, Jesus would call being busy bodies.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Forward Thinkers, Jesus Says Love Your Neighbor
1) Love God
2) Love Your Neighbor
Forward Thinkers, love is an action word and we serve our neighbor out of love, not comfort. We honor and thank God by loving our neighbors. Forward Thinkers, we don’t just talk about loving and serving because faith without works is dead, we actually put our boots on the ground and work to help our neighbors in their time of need.
Ministry should always be focused on serving others because in the end, God will only declare my good and faithful servant and all those other titles we wore will be meaningless.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Forward Thinkers, Jesus Is Asked Who Is My Neighbor?
Forward Thinkers, the answer is, my neighbor is Black, Brown, White, and every race, color, and creed of people created by God. Hurricane Harvey proved how big our neighbor is. Muslim-Christian-White-Female-Hispanic-Senior-Millennium-Gay-Straight all came together and created one big neighborhood.
Forward Thinkers, we are neighbors, we are family, and we are better and stronger together.
We may have all come on different ships but during Hurricane Harvey, we all ended up in the same boat.
Forward Thinkers, my prayer is after Hurricane Harvey becomes a distant memory, we remember to never allow our neighborhood to be reduced back to just the color of our skin or the faith we choose to serve in.
If we can unite during the aftermath of a storm we can remain united after the storm.
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
EA’s 21st Century Re-mix of the Good Samaritan Story
Hurricane Harvey hits H-town leaving many people in a bad situation. Forward Thinkers, many of our neighbors lost everything.
Forward Thinkers, for those of us still standing after the storm, the test for us is how will we love and serve our neighbors back on their feet?
The test for those left with nothing is, will they trust God through it all and not let their faith fail them?
Let’s look at the three examples Jesus described:
1) Forward Thinkers, one man passed by the situation with the ability to help, but refused to help. We must never forget we are blessed to be a blessing to our neighbors. God says what you do for the least of them, you do for me. Remember, today we may be up but another hurricane is on the way and those you refused to help may become the very ones you need to help you.
2) Forward Thinkers, another man passed by the situation on his way to church but he was too selfish to serve so he ignored the needs. The church can’t afford to forget the 2nd greatest commandment is love your neighbor and we love by serving. Don’t be so busy running in the church that we don’t have time to be the church. Forward Thinkers, I wonder if serving the needs of our neighbors was a 501(3)c tax exempt requirement, how many churches would lose their status after Hurricane Harvey.
3) Forward Thinkers, the third man we call ‘the Good Samaritan’ but I call him the real church, because he stops, serves, and sacrifices for his neighbor. Forward Thinkers, if you pay close attention you will realize the man he serves is not even from his neighborhood. Forward Thinkers, we must stop, we must serve, we must be willing to sacrifice and minister to our neighbors.
Forward Thinkers, in conclusion, Jesus then asked which of the three is more like me and the wise man answered number 3; then Jesus tells him and us go and do likewise. Forward Thinkers, the time is always right to do what is right and I’d rather make a mistake helping my neighbors than make the mistake of ignoring a God-sent assignment wrapped in the package of service.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church located, in both Houston, Texas, and the Woodlands, Texas. Pastor Deckard is also the Co-Founder of the No More Bloodshed Movement. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Periscope @ Pastor E A Deckard or the church website www.ghic.net.