We have great news! God is a God-for-people! (Bosch, 2007) His boundless love exists not far away from us, but because of the resurrection of Jesus, we can experience it HERE and NOW. We encounter opportunities for mission in daily life every day in our world. But there seems to be a disconnect between the desire as Christians to serve and help others and the needs of those who we are trying to help. The good news of salvation and the boundless love of God at times ring hollow to the homeless and those who have suffered significant loss. Social action without the love and grace of God can instead objectify those we mean to help. We might ask ourselves, how has our North American culture distorted the Gospel message and how we convey that message? Has our desire to help focused too much on material needs without connecting what we do to the kingdom of Heaven that Jesus taught so much about?
Acts 2: 46-47 offers a great example of the appearance of believers that would become the church. Notice the focus here, “Every day they [believers] continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” This simply says that the spirit united the hearts of the early church in a way that was obvious to those around them. The demeanor of this group of people attracted others. People wanted to be around them. John Stott notes “as the church related to God, the apostles and each other, they were also related to the outside world” (Stott, Living Church, 2007: 33).
“The church exists to fulfill God’s mission, and when we participate in God’s mission we become living signs of God’s intended future for the world, bringing glory to God” (Woodward, 2012). The example from Acts shows that when the focus remains on God, needs are met, spiritually and physically. The gathered community underwent such change through their faith in Christ and their love for Him that people noticed! This is what God has called us to as individuals and as a church: to be so changed by our relationship with Christ that others will want to know why we are different from the world. With the love of God at the center of our being, our mission in daily life, whether through social action or evangelism, overflows to those around us… every day!