Historically, helping and healing is part of the mission of the Christian church; you might even say it is in our DNA. As such, it is important to patiently work out the ways in which our faith compels us to serve “the least of these” in our community.
The gospel changes everything and in it we find the answer to why we serve others. Christians find the motivation to serve the “least of these” in our community in the message of the cross and by the grace shown to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Through serving others, we find our place in God’s story of restoration and redemption.
One of our HOPE South Florida network church pastors, Tullian Tchividjian, says, “One thing the Bible makes very clear is that the church is supposed to be a demonstration community. That we are supposed to be demonstrating, for the watching world, what life in community can look like when God is at the center and the gospel is grasped. When we meet the needs of our community, it demonstrates for the community that we are a changed and transformed people wanting to see change and transformation for our surroundings.”
Sadly, the church has seemingly shifted away from having an active role in God’s redemptive story. In the midst of trying to live out last Sundays three sermon points, we have lost sight of what God took so seriously: sending Jesus to give the world redemption. Jesus’ death and resurrection proclaims a beginning of something that has decided the remotest future. The resurrection means that the beginning of glory has already started and it finds its continuation through us as we serve others, demonstrating the realities of his heart and kingdom.
God is redeeming and restoring humanity, reconciling the world to himself using his covenant people: you and I — the church. The resurrection began a new reality — a time defined by redemption, restoration, mercy, healing and justice. As we live in light of the resurrection, we find our call to service and motivation to not only bring mercy, healing, and justice in times of great crisis, but also every day to our neighbors, communities and to the hurting and broken.
Our work at HOPE South Florida previews the renewal and restoration that is to come as we Build HOPE, housing and community for homeless individuals, children and families. We serve the homeless because we believe there is coming a time where homelessness will be no more and because we believe the story of HOPE that Jesus began on the cross has yet to end. In the meantime, we the church, have work to do. We have a New Kingdom to preview.
Edwin has a BS in Theology and an MA in Counseling Psychology. After serving as an Associate Pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America, Edwin now serves at HOPE South Florida where he operates the emergency overflow shelter, oversees the development of their church network, and is currently the Vice President of Community Engagement.