How To Neighbor

How To Neighbor

DAY 8 OF 10

We Don’t Reinvent the Wheel—We Roll with It

Jesus commissioned us to bring liberty to the captives, Good News for the poor, and proclaim God’s favor. His brother, James, said we shouldn’t just hear these words—we should do them. He defined real religion as caring for orphans and widows. We see the resounding precedence in Scripture and we feel the pain of suffering people in our hearts, but how can we act? It looks big and messy. We’ve talked about sharing meals and starting relationships with our neighbors, but what can we do for prisoners, addicts, widows, victims of human trafficking, foster children, and orphans? Some of us have the opportunity to invite these neighbors into our lives. A few of us may start movements and organizations. Most of us feel stuck.

William Wilberforce was a non-conforming, spiritual zealot in the polite society of the nineteenth century. He wasn’t just religious, though. Wilberforce was a doer on behalf of his most captive, poor, and vulnerable neighbors. The English parliamentarian led the fight to abolish slavery in Britain and set a new standard for the Western world. But he didn’t do it alone, and he knew it. Here are Wilberforce’s own words about the value of each person’s unique contribution.

“We have different forms assigned to us in the school of life, different gifts imparted. All is not attractive that is good. Iron is useful, though it does not sparkle like the diamond. Gold has not the fragrance of a flower. So different persons have various modes of excellence, and we must have an eye to all.”
-William Wilberforce, abolitionist and author of Real Christianity

Sound familiar? Notice the title of his book? His words are like those from another non-conformist who wrote about real Christianity. In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he reminded us that we’re one body with many parts. If the whole body were an ear, how would we see? If we all started non-profits to care for orphans, who would volunteer? Who would care for prisoners? Earlier in his letter, Paul used agricultural imagery to make the same point. One person might plant the seed, but it’s another who waters.

Dr. John Sowers is a planter. He leads The Mentoring Project, the mission partner from today’s video. His organization trains mentors and creates opportunities for those people to mentor at-risk kids. He calls it rewriting the story of fatherlessness, but John is the first to admit his organization is more like iron than diamonds. “We’re not doing sexy justice. The Good Samaritan didn’t do sexy justice either.” We’re all different parts. Though we’re not all diamonds, we all matter. Some of us need to be iron. We can’t all start a movement. Most of us need to keep them going.

At Life.Church we say: we don’t reinvent the wheel—we roll with it. This plays out in the way we partner with local and global mission partners who are doing incredible work. Instead of standing up our own effort, we prop up the great work of local movements with our finances and our people. This principle also plays out in the lives of our people—you’ll hear from two of them today.

Today’s step: Watch today’s story with Pastor Craig, Julie, and Jonathan. Think about which part you’ll play in God’s story. Then, reach out to a local partner and get rolling in your city.

Principle Four: We don’t reinvent the wheel—we roll with it.
We know our role. Our sweet spot is offering our people and resources to organizations who plant churches, offer relief, develop leaders, and strengthen communities. To do it right, we’ve built financial and program accountability directly into our partnerships.

About this Plan

How To Neighbor

What if we don’t have to travel far to get close to people who are distant from God? What if Christians were the best neighbors? Would your street change? Would heaven be fuller? A long time ago, a religious leader asked...

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