Contributing to Your Community
In almost every country of the world the Red Cross Association is at work. Their work is one of service to mankind. They help people in times of disaster, such as famine, or heavy storms, or earthquakes. They help everywhere in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and wherever there is a need.
The Red Cross is supported by contributions, or gifts. People give money, supplies, and blood so the Red Cross will be ready to help when trouble comes. People do not contribute because they will get something in return. No! They contribute because they have a desire to help others in times of emergency and trouble.
It is the same with our contributions to our community. We do not help because we will receive some great gift in return. No, we contribute our time, money, and talents to community needs because it is right and good to do so. In this lesson we will see how we can prepare ourselves to serve our community better.
Preparing to Serve
Before we can serve someone, we must be prepared for the service we are giving. The greatest service Christians can give to their communities is to win souls. Here are three ways to prepare yourself to be a witness in your community:
1. Have personal assurance of salvation. How can you feel secure in your home? By making sure all the doors and windows are securely locked when you go to bed. How can you feel sure of your salvation? By having a secure relationship with the Lord. You can do this by praying and studying the Word of God. When you know the author of a book you have a greater desire to read the book. As you get to know God better, you will have a greater desire to read His Word—the Bible.
Sometimes our feelings cause us to doubt our salvation. Allow your trust in God to be based on what the Bible says, and not on how you feel if you feel that nobody loves you—God still does! If you feel that you have failed, cheer up! God still loves you! He loves you because He loves you! Accept His love and place your faith in His Word rather than in feelings.
If you have failed the Lord or for some reason have begun to doubt your relationship with Him, remember these verses in Ephesians 2:4-5:
God’s mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great, that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us to life with Christ. It is by God’s grace that you have been saved.
Can you earn God’s love? No, you can’t. So just accept this free gift and live in a way that shows God you are thankful. Rest in God’s love.
Who, then, can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble do it? . . . No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us (Romans 8:35, 37).
When we accept Christ as our Savior, we can have complete security in our salvation because of His mercy, and not because of our feelings.
2. Know how to lead someone to God. Have you ever had someone say to you, “Follow me, I know the way,” and then you ended up lost? That is not a pleasant feeling. We like to follow people who really do know the way. If we want to lead other people to God, we must know the way. Many verses in the Bible help us to lead someone to Christ. In the following chart I will list a few that you might want to memorize to get you started:
Romans 3:23 All people have sinned and need a Savior.
Romans 6:23 People deserve death, but God offers life.
John 3:16 God has provided a sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, God will forgive us.
1 John 5:13 We can know we have eternal life.
If you would like to use these verses to show someone how to find Christ, first of all memorize them. Put the page number of the first verse inside the cover of your Bible. Then at the bottom of the page where the first verse is found, put the page number of the next verse. Do this until you have listed all five of the verses.
Then you will have a simple but effective way to use your Bible to lead someone to Christ. You are prepared to serve. As you find other verses that will help you to witness, mark them in the same way.
3. Depend on the Holy Spirit. No matter how well you know the Bible, you must still depend on the Holy Spirit to help you. He will give you guidance, and will bring the right words into your mind as you witness. The Holy Spirit draws people to God and makes them sorry for their sin. He knows the condition of each person’s heart. As you pray for His direction, He will help you to serve your community through your personal witness.
Christians can serve and influence their communities in many ways. We should be better citizens, neighbors, and friends because we are Christians. Our community should be better because we are there.
If we hope to influence our community for God, we must take part in community activities. But we must decide which activities are good, and which ones would harm our Christian testimony. How do we decide?
First of all, when you need to decide whether to become involved in an activity, ask yourself: “Is it against basic Christian teaching according to the Bible?” If the answer is no, then ask yourself this question: “Can I be a witness for God, enjoy the activity, and come away unharmed?” If the answer is yes and if you have prayerfully considered it, then go.
If you do go and find after you have been involved for a while that the activity does not meet the standards given above, then leave, and thank the Lord for teaching you a lesson. The Holy Spirit will give you wisdom in making decisions such as this one.
Christians can involve themselves in their communities and let their lights shine in many ways. For example, they can be good citizens by notifying the police if they see a crime being committed. They can help provide wholesome activities for the youth of the community, so that they will not have time to be involved in trouble or crime.
Christian parents and other Christians can take an interest in the local schools, and help the teachers and leaders in whatever ways are possible. You might even be able to help get Christian teachers for your school. Show an interest in getting better school buildings, books, and libraries if they are needed.
Another good way to influence your community is to become friends with community leaders such as police officers, teachers, doctors, and those who operate businesses. Look for opportunities to witness to them about what Christ has done in your life. Try to get acquainted with your mayor and representatives in your local government. Remember, they need the Lord, too.
It would be impossible to list all the ways we can serve our community. When we are given opportunity to vote for leaders or laws which encourage righteous living, it is our Christian responsibility to do so. If the community is trying to raise funds for a worthy project such as a hospital or an orphanage, Christians should help with these projects.
In all our relationships, it is important that we be examples of Christianity. This is especially true in our business dealings. The Bible tells us that we should “be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith, and purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
John Brown is a Christian. He gave his life to Christ many years ago. Everyone in his community respects him as a good worker and an honorable man.
Mr. Brown is also known in his community as a good builder. When the mayor asked for volunteer help to build a recreation area downtown, Mr. Brown offered to direct the new building project. Everyone is happy, because they have confidence in Mr. Brown.
Notice the important aspects of this story:
John Brown is an excellent builder with a good reputation.
He has offered his skill to help in a community project that will provide enjoyment for many people.
These two things are of interest to the community. Many people probably do not even know that Mr. Brown is also a Christian. However, everyone involved in the project will come to know that he is a Christian as they work with him. He loves God, and Christian principles will shine out of his life.
Perhaps you have skills that your community needs. Can you offer your services as a contribution to everyone? If you can, you will be a blessing to others, and you will have an opportunity to give your Christian testimony by using your skill to help others.
The community needs many skills. Farming, building, nursing, caring for small children, and helping to clean or beautify your community are only a few ways to be involved. What is your special ability? Have you offered it to God and your community?
“You have received without paying, so give without being paid” (Matthew 10:8).