Caring for others makes a lasting impression; it makes a lasting influence on the life of others.

 

 

Becoming a Caring Family

Acts 2:42-47

 

I am going to preach a short series of what the church should be. I want us to be challenged to be the best congregation we can be as we serve Jesus. I think we do very well in most areas but if we don’t continually grow and focus on what we need to be doing we will get distracted. Today I want us to consider how we can be a more caring family.

 

Take this quiz:

* Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

* Name the last five Heisman trophy winners

* Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.

* Name ten people who have won a Nobel Prize or Pulitzer Prize.

* Name the last five Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

* Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

 

How did you do?

 

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten.

 

Here’s another quiz.

* Name two teachers who aided your journey through school.

* Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

* Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

* Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

* Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

* Name three heroes whose stories have inspired you.

 

Easier? The lesson? The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards.

The people who make a difference in your life are the ones you care about you.

When you care for others you can be on their top five list.

You can make a difference in this world when you care about people.

 

The world is messed up, people are broken, and many feel all alone. You have the skills to make a difference in their lives. All you have to do is care.

If you do nothing else give a smile – you will have plenty left and you may even get one in return.

 

People are so needy because God created us to need each other and Him.

 

Genesis 2:18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

 

We are relational beings. Our greatest needs are to belong and to be loved, even Maslow recognized that.

 

God loves you and you belong to Him. We know of God’s love because He sent Jesus to die for us.

God loves you no matter what anyone else tells you.

 

Because He loves us we need to love one another.

1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

 

God did not just say He loved us, He demonstrated His love. And we need to demonstrate our love for others.

 

Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. … 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.

 

The believers were together daily. Hearing God’s word, praying, fellowshipping and remembering the Lord’s death and resurrection. They gave to each other as they had needs.

It does not say they gave when they could afford it, or when they had time. They gave when another had a need. In verse 42 the word fellowship means to share life. Which includes sharing finances and making emotional connections.

Are you fellowshipping with others? Are you sharing your life – sharing your finances and making emotional connections with others?

Our breakfast fellowship this morning was only fellowship if you shared life with one another. Sharing life is more than small talk. Sharing life is sharing life’s joys and sorrows. We have to open up to each other, we have to make one another feel safe and loved so they can share their hurts.

 

Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another.

 

This past week we all had an opportunity to let Tom know that we care about him.

He felt loved after his accident – He wrote on Facebook – “So thankful to all my friends and family for the prayers, phone calls, texts, e-mails and visits in the past 2-1/2 days.”

How would he have felt if no one contacted him?

 

Were created to be relational, we need each other; so let’s make sure we show each other how much we care.

Can you let other people know you care about them? All you need are your two ears and a compassionate heart.

 

Do you see others in need and meet their need?

That means we need to take time to see who is in need. Is someone going through a difficult time in life? Health issue, family issue, work issue

We have to get to know each other enough to know what is going on, even get to know one another well enough to read their face and know they are having a bad day.

We can’t be so selfish not to notice others. We can’t be so caught up with our issues that we don’t have time to care about other people’s trouble. Let’s look for people to love.

 

The teacher asked the class to write about an unusual event that happened during the past week.

Little Johnny got up and read his essay.

It began, “Daddy fell into the well last week…” “Oh, my!” the teacher exclaimed. “Is he all right?” “He must be,” said the boy. “He stopped yelling for help yesterday.”

 

There are hurting people everywhere. Can you hear them cry for help? Just because they are not crying does not mean they do not need our help. Do you cry for help or do you try to hide your needs?

The hurting person you see may be yourself. So ask for help.

Don’t be afraid to ask – you don’t mind helping why do you mind asking?

Does shame keep you from asking?

Does pride keep you from asking?

If we would all admit we all need help from time to time maybe we would quit hiding behind a brave face.

I struggle – I need someone to talk to about the issues I face in life. I need to know others care about me and love me; I need to know others care about my family.

Let’s quit acting like we have it all together and help each other – then we will be closer to having it all together.

 

Look beyond yourself and help someone else. I have found that when I help someone else I am helped also.

 

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

 

Do you hear the cries for help? You may have to turn down the noise in your life to hear.

Have you ever been watching TV and your wife ask you to do something? You hear her talking but you are not really listening? Did you get in trouble?

We have to really focus in on other people so we can see and hear their needs.

 

2 Samuel 9:1 David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”

 

King David went looking for someone to care for. We need to be proactive also. Let’s go looking for people to care for. Who comes to mind that you could show care for?

 

If you are the one who needs help accept it graciously.

Be like Mephibosheth, he was honored and accepted David’s kindness.

 

Pay attention and see needs

Have you ever read people’s body language or tone?

Get to know people so you can read their face and know when they are hurting

If someone asks if you are ok – do not lie – lying is a sin

We can’t tell everyone all of our struggles but if people care enough to ask maybe we could share a little.

 

Ask God to help you be sensitive to the needs of others, ask Him to help you see and hear with compassion and then respond as He would.

 

We first need to hear the needs of our family. We then need to hear the needs of our church family.

Then begin to reach out to meet other needs.

 

Are there people who you have not seen at church for a while? Have you called them or sent them a message?

Do you think they feel lonely and hurt when their family does not call or visit?

 

Isn’t that your job, Jim? Yes, but that does not mean it is not your job also. If I was the only one to call they would think I cared, but they would not know if anyone else cared. We want Oak Forest to be a caring family, not just the preacher to be a caring preacher. The fact is you can do a better job of caring than I can. I can’t meet the needs of everyone but each of you caring for each other will meet all the needs that are present in our congregation.

 

Let’s go back and consider a question. Is it a job? It is a task that needs done but we should get to the point where we want to care and not see it as a burdensome job. We all need to call on others because we miss them and really care.

This week call someone you would not usually call to see how they are doing.

Or send them a card or an email, Facebook message, etc.

 

Show at least 2 people you care this week.

 

Paul in Philippians gives us life-changing principles. These principles will help us care about others more.

 

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

 

Do nothing out of selfish ambition. When you do you put others down to get what you want. That is not Christian, it is not very polite. We have to be careful because it is easy to get caught up in serving me, and forget to serve others.

 

Do nothing out of vain conceit. You think of yourself as better than you are. You have the “big head.”

The remedy for selfishness and being conceited is humbling yourself

 

Romans 12:3 …Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment

 

Philippians 2:3 …but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

 

Considering others better than yourself is not putting you down it is raising others up.

 

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

 

If we focus on honoring others, and considering them better we will not have time to become selfish. Instead of looking for ways to get others to serve you make it a challenge to serve them first.

 

Philippians 2:4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

 

Look to the interests of others. Not only your interests. So you can look to your interests but consider others also. But before you can know the interests of others you have to spend time with them and listen.

 

A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5, and Ryan, 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, “Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.” Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus.

 

Even if others have the attitude of the older brother let us be like Jesus.

 

Philippians 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!

 

Jesus made Himself nothing to serve us – we should make ourselves nothing to serve others.

Let’s get out there and change the world by caring for others. Be like Christ and be a servant.

 

If you have not accepted what Christ has done for you will you consider how much he loves you?

He accepts you and loves you that is why He died on the cross for you. Come to Him and find forgiveness.

Will you come?