Outward Focused

<<reaching out to others>>

Once we become a Christian, life should not be about us, rather about how we are actively advancing the Kingdom of God. This is not to earn our salvation but in humble appreciation of the salvation we have been blessed with. Our love for God is outworked in worship to Him and service to our fellow man – both expressions are intertwined.

The Bible says, those who are self-seeking, reject the truth and follow evil will experience God's wrath while those who do good will have honour and peace (Rom 2:8,10). In the Bible, selfish ambition always has a negative association such as the unwise mindset of a rich fool who was the centre of his own world – and missed out on the opportunity of being a blessing and being blessed (Lk 12:16-21). A lack of purpose, unhappiness and discontentment are just some of the symptoms of not serving the Lord and investing one's life in humanity. In contrast reaching out and wanting the best for another party breaks us from our insidious selfishness. We are challenged to not only look at our own interests, but also to the interests of others (Phil 2:4).

The parable of the Good Samaritan highlights the fact that needs are often on our pathway, obvious if we but use our eyes (Lk 10:30-37). Then we have the choice to become involved, aware there will be considerable inconvenience and personal cost as we encourage and assist others (as appropriate) along the journey of life to reach their

Visualise the harvest ready to be harvested – John 4:35

potential in Christ (Rom 12:1; Eph 4:13; Col 2:2; 1 Thes 5:11). While it can be taxing having input into others the fruit and eternal rewards cannot be comprehended this side of heaven (Mt 25:34-40; Phil 4:1; Col 3:24; 1 Thes 2:19,20).

Jesus said we are not just to love our neighbour as ourselves, we are to love as He loved us – sacrifically (Mk 12:31; Jn 13:34). Don't we all have a lot of work to do in this area to even remotely live up to this standard. The practical and natural abilities we possess have their outworking in good works (Tit 2:14). Even the spiritual gifts God gives are to be used to bless others in selfless servanthood (1 Cor 12:7, 14:4,12,26,31; 1 Pet 4:10,11).

There is a big difference between meddling in the affairs of another as opposed to having a sensitive, genuine and selfless interaction. Be friendly, interested and involved in their lives but do not view this as an opportunity to change their viewpoint. Don’t do all the talking, instead concentrate on listening and ask questions to get them to open up about what is important to them with the possibility of dropping the odd nugget of truth into the convesation.

Not only should we as individuals and families be looking out beyond ourselves, this should be our churches culture too otherwise we cease to be a Great Commission congregation as Jesus commanded (Mt 28:19,20). Thus besides being an emotionally healthy attitude and lifestyle to live by,

Share Jesus with others

as Christians it is how we can be obedient to His "go and tell of the great things God has done for you" – with the aim to see the lost come to Christ and the converted grow to full Christian maturity (Mk 5:19).

There must be a wholesome balance between strengthening the inward base of the converted while also creating a culture of outward ministry into the community to bring others into a relationship with Jesus. All programs and activities of the church should further the cause of Christ, yet there is often a stronger emphasis on, and proportion of programs catering to those inside the Kingdom of God than to those who presently do not know Jesus as Saviour.

See also: balance, friends/friendship, great commission, input, love, needs, needy, neighbours, others, outreach, outworking, self-denial, selfishness, selflessness.