Short Meditations on the Body of Christ: 7. A World-Serving Body
Gal 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
There is among many Christians, I fear, little concern for the fallen world outside the church apart from it being fodder for the Gospel, and many Christian lives are taken up simply with Christian meetings, and yet the truth is we are called to be salt and light (Mt 5:13-16) and you cannot be that unless you are actively involved with the world.
A number of years ago the Lord impacted me with the above verse which had always seemed to me to speak of the church – the family of believers – and yet the call is to “do good to all people,” and if that wasn’t enough the apostle Paul also wrote, “always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (1 Thess 5:15). There are Christians who believe God hates the world, hates all sinful unbelievers until they repent and turn back to Him, but this is still His world and there are still many who will turn to Him that we cannot see at the present.
In that most famous gospel verse, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” (Jn 3:16) the indication is that ‘world’ means everyone. God cannot stop loving because He IS love (1 Jn 4:8,16). Jesus’ example should convince us. He came and healed thousands, many of who selfishly walked away and disregarded him and some even cried against him – yet he still healed them! I have known God healing unbelievers when I’ve prayed – and they are still unbelievers (for the time being) – but our acts of love and goodness are to glorify God (Mt 5:16) and that happens when the unbeliever suddenly sees and becomes a believer. Love opens hearts.
Perhaps one of the most powerful commands from the Lord in this respect came through Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylonia, people who had been carried away by Nebuchadnezzar and apparently had no future as God’s people in his land: “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jer 29:7) I find that absolutely remarkable. Look to bless this pagan place where you have been taken as an exile – yes, that means all these Babylonians – and even pray for them and as you do that I will bless you.
Now this has to have a practical outworking. Get involved. Join groups that are not run by Christians, be salt and light in that group. Seek to bless the community by your active presence in it; become a volunteer where volunteers are needed. Ask the Lord to show you ways that you can be part of your local community and how you can bless it.