by Crystal Bowman
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36 ESV
With only an eighth-grade education and some carpentry training in the U. S. Army, my dad became a successful contractor, building beautiful homes on Lake Michigan and remodeling almost every downtown storefront in our city. I enjoyed spending summers at our cottage on an inland lake in a small rural community. It was a way for our family to be on vacation while my dad was able to work in the area.
My dad had a burden for the lost, and when he discovered a poverty-stricken neighborhood only miles from our cottage, he could not ignore their spiritual needs. He saw them as sheep without a shepherd and had compassion for them. With support from our church, my dad built a small chapel at the entrance to the neighborhood. Every Sunday afternoon, instead of taking a much-needed rest, he canvassed the dirt roads on foot, inviting the families to come to the evening service where a pastor told the people about Jesus. Recognizing their physical needs as well, my dad provided food and clothing for those who came to worship.
The ministry flourished for decades, and because of my dad’s vision, many people from this poor neighborhood have a mansion in heaven. When my dad became too old to continue this ministry, another local church took it over and continued offering services in the chapel.
Before Jesus went back to heaven after His resurrection, He told his disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV). This passage is also known as The Great Commission, and if we are followers of Jesus, then the message is for us.
Many people leave their homes, friends, and families to serve on foreign mission fields. They follow God’s calling to share the Gospel in other countries or continents. The sacrifices they make for the sake of the Gospel are something I cannot relate to. But even if God has not called me to leave my homeland, He still asks me to share the Gospel in my neighborhood, my community, and at the grocery store.
We are surrounded by people who need Jesus. There are many different ways to share the Gospel, and opportunities are all around us. We can invite others to church or Bible study (even virtually). We can volunteer at local food pantries or after-school programs for children. If we have physical limitations, we can partner financially with ministries to support those who are able to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
In 1 Peter 3:15 (ESV), the Apostle Peter shares these words, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” In other words—be ready to share at any moment because we never know when someone is open to hearing about the hope, joy, and peace that come from having a believing faith in Jesus.
My dad has been with Jesus for 15 years, and there are others walking in heaven with him because he saw their needs. He built that little chapel 55 years ago, and I could never count the number of people who have come to know Jesus because of his compassion. The chapel is still standing and the doors are still open.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 books including, Our Daily Bread for Kids.She and her husband have three married children and seven huggable grandchildren.
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