I reached out to Andrew Jones to write this week’s blog. He is a Ruling Elder at Covenant and member of the Leadership Team at Bold Hope. Bold Hope is one of our Global Missions partners. They connect communities across cultures and continents, to the glory of God. Another Ruling Elder, Andrew’s brother Matthew Jones, is also on the Bold Hope Leadership Team and will be preaching this coming Sunday at Covenant Church.
Grace to you all at this Thanksgiving, Pastor Joshua Bundy
Do Small Things With Great Love
By Andrew Jones
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and at least once during the day you’ll probably either be asked what you’re thankful for or ask someone else what they’re thankful for. Taking some time to reflect on all that we have to be grateful for is important. There is much, an overabundance, that we have been given. James 1:17 says that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” Therefore, we’d be remiss not to celebrate those gifts.
We’d do well to remember, though, that these gifts do not mean that we are more blessed than others. We are not more loved than others. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, emphasis added).
Keep that in the back of your mind, as we switch gears for just a moment.
Walking into a batey1 in the Dominican Republic is overwhelming on many levels. The sheer number of children that come out to greet visitors is astonishing. The desperate living conditions are heartbreaking. The utter lack of resources is devastating. And yet…
There is genuine joy on the faces of the children who clamor for attention. There is generosity amongst neighbors. There is HOPE yet for an unknown future.
Spending time in these impoverished communities is certainly a reminder of all that we’ve been given, and therefore all we should be thanking God for on a regular basis. And yet...it’s so much more than that. Maybe it takes visiting a batey, where there’s only one source of water for the entire community and the vast majority of families are broken, to get a true glimpse of God’s will for our lives. In America, we have the luxury of questioning the best path for our futures. We wrestle with God’s plan for our lives. But, really, it’s quite simple: love God and love people.
Sometimes, in fact, loving God looks like loving people. James 2:14-17 says, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
The scope of the need in the world is daunting - we certainly can’t love all the people or meet all the needs. It’s easy to become paralyzed into inactivity. “I didn’t know what to do, so I just didn’t do anything” is a common enough refrain. However, God didn’t ask us to do it all. He knew we couldn’t. But He is inviting us to be a part of His redemptive plan. He’s asking us to love Him, and part of that means loving our neighbors; our neighbors on our street and our neighbors around the world.
Bold Hope is honored to be able to take this message of God’s love to individuals and communities around the globe. We are doing that by focusing our efforts on the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Zimbabwe, India, Cambodia, and Belize. Where possible, we’re leading mission teams to help meet physical needs while sharing the gospel. We’re sponsoring children to ensure them the best shot at their earthly future, while discipling them towards their eternal future. We count it a privilege to share the HOPE of Jesus Christ with children and families whose suffering makes them “less than” in the eyes of most of the world. Jesus himself made it clear that He does not see them as less than. He sees them as His children. He sees them as worthy of the greatest sacrifice the world has ever known. He sees them as blessed. Blessed and oh, so loved.
So, as you sit down to eat turkey and mashed potatoes, spend a few moments sharing what you’re thankful for. But maybe also take it one step further and think about the answers to these questions: What is the natural next step for a grateful heart? How does God want you to use all that you’ve been given?
1A batey [pronounced bah-TAY] is a settlement around a sugar mill. Many of the people who live there are immigrants from Haiti who’ve come to the DR in search of work and a better life. They have few public services and are the poorest communities in the country.