15 Feb Having a Passion for People
You are called to reach people.
But called to reach who? Who is your mission field?
Today we’re going to learn how we can love like Jesus and pin point the exact people we’re called to reach.
Listen to the Audio:
Everyone is Called
Everyone is called to full-time ministry, and full-time ministry really goes far above and beyond the traditional ministry, like being a pastor or a missionary. You are called right where you are, and it always means having a passion for people.
We are talking about the important, non-negotiable thing you need to have in your calling, which is loving people.
You might say, “I want to serve and I want to love people, but I don’t know how to reach people.”
Here’s a fun fact: The most prominent Bible figures weren’t professional religious leaders. Instead, they were merely people who had a passion for God and people.
Abraham, for example, was a rancher and businessman. Jacob was too. Joseph, Daniel, and Nehemiah were in government service. Rahab was a spy. The shepherds, who were present at Jesus’ birth and were instrumental in spreading the good news, were only shepherds. All these people were in the secular workplace.
Even Jesus spent the majority of His life as a carpenter before He started His ministry of saving the world.
We know that we can have an impact right where we are. You don’t have to be that traditional religious leader in order to have an impact and reach people.
Go to Your Church First
Whenever you’re thinking about who you can reach, I want you to think about the church doors first.
You see, the church is a body, and in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul spoke to the people and said, “You are a body together. A hand cannot do more on its own than it could if it was attached to the body.”
While that may sound a bit graphic, the truth is, if you cut off your hand, how much could it actually do?
You can serve the Lord anywhere, but don’t rob the people in your church family of you.
Anytime that you’re not there or not offering to serve there, you’re robbing your family, your church family. There is always a shortage of people to help with the church needs, like childcare, teaching the youth, Bible studies, etc. There is a right place for you in your church home. If you ask, they can fit you with the right place.
For example, we have a security team at our church, a music team, sound and media team, and more. They’re all very different areas, giving plenty of opportunities for people to use their different talents and passions.
Hit the Streets
Of course, it’s not just enough to serve inside the church doors, because inside the church doors are normally people who already know the Lord. You also have to think outside the church doors.
I know people from my church who go to the gym regularly. This couple was brought into our church because another church member reached out to them, built a relationship, and shared God’s love with them all at the gym!
Another way that you can think outside the church doors it to meet a need. If you know a family that is struggling, consider going and anonymously paying a bill for them.
You can also share the love of Jesus in your workplace simply by practicing kindness to others.
It’s not shoving the gospel down people’s throats, it’s about caring for and loving people, meeting needs and ministering. That’s what the love of Jesus looks like, and whenever others see that, they’re going to wonder what makes you different. This opens the door for you to say, “It’s because of Him, not me.”
Matthew 6:13 says, “Let your light shine, so that when others see your good works, they can glorify your Father in heaven.”
When you are doing your best and ministering to people, they are going to notice, and that is when you give glory to the Lord.
Love Like Jesus
We can love the way that Jesus loves, and that can open the doors to ministering to people across the board.
One way we can do that is to forgive out of love. This is what sets us apart from the world.
John 13:35 says, “But by this, everyone will know that you’re my disciples, if you love one another.” In 1 John 4:18, he says, “We love because He first loved us.”
We don’t have to be like the world. Whenever we step out and forgive, we are showing the world that we are different. I am loving you out of this Christ love that I have in me, and because of that, I’m going to forgive you for this. This is one of the best, and most challenging, ways to love like Jesus and truly set yourself apart from other people.
In this world, people are prone to revenge and holding grudges, but when you come in with forgiveness, it’s like a breath of fresh air.
Don’t Be Afraid to Let Things Go
Sacrifice is another way that we can love like Jesus. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us, and He is a perfect example. We can, and should, put our own needs and desires aside so that we can focus on the needs of other people.
This doesn’t have to be big. Something as simple as letting someone go ahead of us in line or choosing not to argue with someone’s opinion are small but meaningful examples of sacrificing like Jesus.
It’s the least we can do to sacrifice some of our own wants and needs for the good of other people, including the good of the church.
There are people who struggle with wanting to serve in the church, but don’t want to give up their time for enjoyment or worry that they get home too late from work.
The thing is, there is so much joy in serving and in sacrifice! Serving opens you up, gives you the opportunity to make potentially lifelong relationship connections, as well as filling you with the joy of the Lord.
Pray to Love
Prayer is yet another way that we can love like Jesus.
We can pray for the people in our lives. A lot of times, we forget this, but we can pray for God’s mission around the world as well.
For example, my sons love geography, and I love encouraging them in their search for knowledge. With that being said, I also like for them to learn about the world and God simultaneously.
I got them a book called Operation World. It’s setup similar to a devotional, with a different country or region of the world highlighted in each section. The book gives demographics, politics, and other information as well as prayer needs. We use this book to pray for God’s mission around the world, and that prayer cultivates a heart for other people in my children.
Tell Others About Him
The most obvious way to love like Jesus is to tell others about him, but it’s often the one that is used the least.
Many get nervous about it, or feel like we’re inconveniencing people, but when we tell others about the Lord, it’s an act of love. We are sharing the best news they could ever hear!
Before you start speaking it out, make sure that you’re also living it out. People are going to be more open to hearing about God’s word if they have seen you living it in person.
Don’t wait until you feel comfortable or accepted because there will be far more occasions where you won’t feel comfortable. Just like any public speaking, you have to train yourself to overcome the nervousness, and there is really no better training than simply going out and doing it.
Start with the people that you know, and be intentional about talking to them.
Who Should You Reach?
Now, let’s talk about narrowing down who you should reach.
There are people right in front of you that have needs. Start with the people who are in your immediate reach. There are people in your life who have physical or emotional needs right now that you should begin with.
Then, think about groups of people who share your hobbies, personality traits, or even misfortunes. If you’ve gone through something difficult, you’re not the only one, and if you overcame it, it’s likely that there is someone out there who is still ten steps behind.
In a way, I find that comforting. While it’s never enjoyable to struggle through something, there’s an odd comfort, once you’ve come through it, to know that you can reach out to others and help them as well.
And that affect ripples out through those you help as well. They feel inspired to help someone in a similar situation, and it passes on and on, like the movie Pay It Forward.
In the hands of God, nothing is wasted. When you are struggling, realize that with God, your struggle is not wasted. God can use it for His glory and to reach people that you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.
It’s important to remember that we will never realize the impact that we have in this world until we reach heaven. We can never give, love, or care too much because you cannot outgive a giver.
We have been given so much through Jesus Christ, and we can never outgive Him. We can never outlove Him or outcare for people like He does.
If you ask the Lord, on a daily basis, what you can do for Him by reaching out to other people with His love, He is going to be faithful to give you the strength and knowledge to do that.
It is my prayer that you will find a way to cultivate a passion for people in your life, and that your passion will spur you on to reach other people for Him.