An Attractive Lifestyle
Let each of us please his neighbour for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself… (Romans 15:2-3)
God’s call for us in these verses is very counter-cultural. Think about it. Advertisers are always telling us to please ourselves, to treat ourselves to something nice and enjoyable. Why? Well, in the famous words of L’Oréal Paris, ‘Because you’re worth it’! The basic message is, ‘You’re most important. You deserve to maximise your enjoyment. Make sure to take care of number one – YOU!’. Yet Jesus, the only person we could ever say is actually worth it all, rejected the L’Oréal philosophy. He embraced an other-centred life, a life of self-sacrificial love that went even to the point of death for the sake of others! That’s not just counter-cultural, I think that’s counter almost everything that’s in us.
Every one of us naturally gravitates towards prioritising our own needs and desires. Yet Jesus did exactly the opposite. He lived and died for the good of others. And Paul tells us in Romans to follow Jesus’ example. We aren’t to please ourselves, we’re to please others for their good. And, when you think about it, if God has decided to work for our good, then we don’t need to spend our lives worrying about all of our needs and desires! I’m not saying that we don’t carry out our day-to-day responsibilities. What I am saying is that God is far more powerful and effective than we are. So, if he’s taking care of our good, why should we carry this burden? Knowing God’s unconditional love and favour toward us through Jesus frees us to radically love and serve others.
I think this is something the early church had a good grasp on. Many of them embraced a radically other-centred lifestyle. They got their hands dirty serving others and it was attractive to people who were downtrodden and marginalised by Roman society. In fact, their charity towards others was so influential that the Roman Emperor Julian started complaining about it! Historian John Dickson comments, ‘Julian left us a collection of almost humorous letters to various imperial officials complaining that the Christians cared for everyone. He was worried that they were going to take over the Roman world by the stealth of their good deeds. In one letter, he wrote: “The Galileans have devoted themselves to philanthropy. They have their so-called love-feasts, or hospitality, or service of tables – they call it by many names because they have many ways of carrying it out – and the result is that they have led a very many others into their atheism.” He calls Christianity atheism because it denied the Greek and Roman gods. But perhaps the most interesting letter is one he wrote a few years later to the pagan high priest of Galatia, named Arcacius. In this letter, he gives the equivalent of millions of dollars of the imperial purse to establish a welfare system in the pagan temples modelled on the one he saw in the Christian churches. He wanted to beat the Christians at their own game!’.
The other-centred lifestyle is powerful and attractive. It certainly got Emperor Julian’s attention! I believe it will get the attention of the world today as well. Now, I don’t know whether you have embraced this lifestyle or not for yourself. But this month we want to use the weekly handout to highlight opportunities to serve others. We are looking for people to donate food to our community cupboard, we are looking for volunteers to join a new cooking ministry and more. Please take some time to read through the weekly handout and pray about whether God is calling you to do something new.
Each Wednesday at BPCC we help many families in our local community with emergency food relief. Families need assistance due to a variety of reasons through the Compassion Cupboard we are able to meet their need and provide emergency food supplies for 2-3days.
How can you get involved?
You can volunteer
Volunteers hand out food between 11am-1pm each Wednesday. Volunteers talk with each client, to find out their current needs, provide encouragement and a friendly face in a difficult time.
You can donate funds
We use donated funds in the following ways.
> We have volunteers who go shopping each week to top up the cupboard with supplies ready for a Wednesday morning.
> From time to time we have a client who needs extra help such as help with medication costs or the need of a fuel voucher to get to medical appointments etc.
You can donate food
You can place items of non-perishable food in the foyer on a Sunday or drop off to the office during the week.
Suggested items include.
Our Visiting Team, regularly spends time catching up with people in our community who may be in need of extra company.
People this team invests in may be lonely, hospitalised or housebound. Contact can vary from a text message or regular phone call to a physical visit.
Our Meals team cook up nutritious meals for people in a time of need, this could be due to illness, a new baby or an unexpected event. We have a freezer full of meals ready to be accessed as needs arise.
We also bless families with ongoing needs with a hot meal on a regular basis.
How can you get involved?
> You can cook for the freezer
> You can cook a regular meal for a family with ongoing needs
> You can be on call to cook up a meal for a family with a new baby.
Our maintenance team helps people who are unable to perform physical tasks themselves, due to a variety of reasons. Some of the tasks this team helps with are; gardening, lawn mowing, moving furniture, minor repairs.
Cooking Ministry- Expressions of Interest
We are considering starting up a cooking ministry, which would see people from the community and potentially those already accessing the Compassion Cupboard, come along to a weekly cooking group where they will learn how to make nutritional and economical meals for their family. Each participant would leave with a meal and a new recipe each week. Let us know if this is a ministry you would like to be involved with!