The Christmas season is the season of generosity and gift giving. Although, Christians know that we should be sharing the Good News, helping those in need, and living with a generous hear all year long, we tend to focus more on Christmas for giving and sharing. Certainly, it is important to focus on giving during the Christmas season because it is a way of remembering and honoring the greatest gift given to all mankind by God, which was His Son. For, Christ, the Son of God, came to earth as a small baby to bring Salvation to all mankind. This was the ultimate sacrificial gift of generosity and love given to us by God the Father. But as we remember this most wonderful gift of all, we must also focus on sharing Christ’s free gift of Salvation with as many people as we can. However, the month of December should not be the only time that we focus on sharing the gift of Christ or the gift of Salvation with other people. We should share this glorious gift and our Christian love of service all year long.
One of the things that Christians do during the Christmas season to demonstrate their love is to give food and gifts to those who are less fortunate. Many Christian denominations take up special Christmas collections to help those less fortunate. For example, the Southern Baptists always collect money for the Lottie Moon missions to help their missionaries help other people and spread the Word. Most Christians also have a favorite charity that they help or contribute to such as to “Toys for Tots” or other charity organizations where they can help fund Christmas gifts or food for those less fortunate. This is all wonderful! Please don’t stop! However, there is so much more that we can do for suffering individuals and others who are need of help all year long.
The Spiritual Needs of Others
Obviously, food, shelter, clothing, and the essentials for living are important things to focus on when giving. But, we should also be focusing on peoples’ spiritual needs as well as their emotional and physical needs. But, in order to do this, Christians need to get to know the individual first. This doesn’t mean that we have to become a close friend before we can reach out to another woman. However, we do need to form, at the very least, an acquaintance relationship in order to be able to speak openly to her. In other words, we need to introduce ourselves and ask about her life and her needs. We need to let the other woman know that we care and are willing to listen to her personal stories and needs. We have to have empathy.
Jesus had great empathy for the people of this earth. In fact, He loved us so much that He was laid down His life in order to give us the gift of Salvation and His cleansing blood of redemption. In addition, while He was here on earth, Jesus Christ even introduced Himself to strangers to find out what it was that they needed in life and in order to speak to them about their spiritual situation. He wanted to give people a chance to repent and change their sinful ways.
When people found out that Christ could heal them, large crowds of people followed Christ wherever He went. Individuals, or someone speaking for a specific individual, came directly to Jesus to ask for His help. Everyone who was sick wanted to be healed. We also read in the Bible that most of these needy individuals usually wanted help with a physical problem, but some even needed to be released from demon possession. However, it was when they were healed from their specific situation that many of these people suddenly recognized that Christ could also heal their spiritual problems as well. Indeed, it was in healing them that Jesus Christ was given the opportunity to explain to them about their sins and what repentance and living for God could mean to their lives.
There was one person in particular, though, that did not come to Jesus asking for help. Rather, Jesus reached out to him unexpectedly. This was the man Zacchaeus. In this biblical recounting of the story of Zacchaeus, we should notice that Christ introduced Himself to Zacchaeus, who had “climbed up into a Sycamore tree”. Even with a large crowd surrounding Him, Jesus Christ knew there was a person in a tree who needed to be healed spiritually. Why was Zacchaeus in a tree? Well you see, Zacchaeus was a very short man, and he could not see over the crowd. But, by climbing up in a tree Zacchaeus had the opportunity to see Jesus even over the large crowd of people who were surrounding Jesus.
Zacchaeus never expected the Lord to speak to him personally. He may not even have thought that he was worthy to be near Jesus, yet he wanted to see Jesus. So, he was caught off guard when Jesus looked up in the tree and calling him by name said, “Zacchaeus! … Quick, come down! For I must be a guest in your home today.” -- (Luke 19: 5. NLT). We are told that Zacchaeus immediately came down very quickly and took Jesus to his home. While visiting with Jesus in his home, Zacchaeus began to truly understood how selfish and cheating he had been to all the people whose taxes he had increased and basically stolen for his own. So, Zacchaeus repented of his sins. Now, Zacchaeus wanted everyone to know how repentant and sorry he was for stealing from all the people. In repentance Zacchaeus then stood in front of Jesus and the other people and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor. Lord, and if I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” – (Luke 19:8. NLT).
Most importantly, Zacchaeus realized that he was not only talking to the Son of God, but that he needed to ask God for forgiveness and be cleansed from all his wrong doing. For, Zacchaeus knew that even though he had cheated many people throughout his lifetime, that he had to somehow make it right. He also heard the Gospel message from Christ, for Zacchaeus suddenly had a tremendous heart change and a spiritual re-birth. Moreover, Zacchaeus demonstrated his spiritual re-birth and the inner change of heart through his outward actions of the repayment of the people’s taxes and his public statement of repentance.
Salvation changes people both inwardly and outwardly. But, all true Christians have to demonstrate their re-birth and their changed heart by their outwardly changed behavior, because people cannot read their minds. In other words, we have to put our faith into action. Just like Zacchaeus, Christians have to put their faith in Christ in action. One of the ways of doing so, is to reach out to share our faith and our trust in God and Christ with others through our generosity of service and time, through our love for others, and through our willingness to mentor other women or help in whatever way is needed.
Where Do We Start?
It is only by talking to another person or by becoming acquainted with them that we can begin to speak into a person’s heart about Christ and explain the importance of knowing Christ as their Savior. That is why, engaging in conversation, being a role model, and offering to mentor another can make all the difference in the life of another human. But, it doesn’t take just a special time of the year in order to share the Good News or to Mentor another person. Rather, we need to be willing to reach out to the lost all twelve months of the year! We need to be of service to God and others throughout the year! We need to be generous in our giving and in our sacrificial life lived for Christ.
Billy Graham once said, “We are stewards of the Gospel. The power to proclaim the greatest news in heaven and earth was not given to angels, it was given to redeemed men (and women). Every Christian is to be a witness.” -- (Billy Graham in Quotes, p. 139., c. 2011 by Franklin Graham).
As redeemed humans, Christian women have many opportunities to reach out to other women in need, i.e., through their need to have a friend, their need to have support, and most certainly through their need to hear the Gospel message. That is why, Christian women must try to reach out to women whom they might not otherwise reach out to help. We have to think outside of the ordinary box that that makes up our lives. We have to step out of our comfort zone to say “hello” to someone that we might not ordinarily speak to. We also need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show us who we are to speak to. We are to pray that the Holy Spirit will give us the right words to say and that we will then be able to say them at the right time.
Just as importantly, every Christian woman needs to get in front of a mirror and practice introducing herself to another woman (in this case, to the woman in the mirror). Then she should also practice speaking aloud and telling her Salvation story to the mirror so that she doesn’t have to stumble over her story when the opportunity arises to share it. No, you don’t need to memorize your story, because your story comes from your heart and it is true. But, you do need to build up confidence in telling your personal story of Salvation. In fact, the old saying “practice makes perfect” fits this situation nicely. For, when you have practiced it and feel comfortable telling your story, you can then either tell the whole story in one sitting or you can comfortably pull out the important pieces of your story at appropriate times when needed.
It is also important to memorize some of the Scriptures that will help another person understand the Good News and why Christ came to give them the gift of Salvation. In one of my previous posts I gave you all Scriptures that are generally used together to witness to people for Christ. This collection of Scriptures is called “The Roman Road”. These are a group of Scriptures mostly from the book of Romans that explain God’s plan for Salvation. So, I won’t write those Scriptures all down again. But, if you need them, just ask I will get them to you.
Women should also practice listening to other people without interrupting them. This isn’t always easy because most of us want to add something to the conversation. However, in mentoring, it is important to be able to listen to everything that is being said and to be able to distinguish between words for the sake of words and words that have a meaningful importance. For, it is those words that have meaning that will tell a Christian mentor what the woman is really trying to say or not say. Figuring out what the needs of another woman are, though, takes patience and a desire to be of help. All surface talk will not tell you whether or not the woman has a relationship with the Lord. All surface talk will not tell you if a woman is lonely or needs help in a specific area. But being willing to listen closely and occasionally ask a probing question will eventually give you, as a Christian mentor, insight into what the woman may need. Then offer to take the woman out for coffee in order to get to know each other better.
Every Christian woman should practice opening her heart to the needs of others. We can do this by being willing to share our gifts, talents, information, etc. and by being willing to make the time to share the Gospel with another. If you are willing to make the time to help another person, then you have taken the first step in generosity and in sharing a heart of love.
In the Newer Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy who was over the church at Ephesus, which was a very wealthy church. Indeed, many of the church members were extremely wealthy. But, there were also many problems within the church at Ephesus that needed to be addressed. That is why Paul told Timothy that he needed to deal with all potential problems by first teaching these new Christians that with great wealth comes great responsibility. In other words, those Christians who have been blessed with much money should also have a generous heart. Christians should not put their hope in their money, but instead put their hope in the living God who is the one who gives security to all of His children. That is why Paul said, “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.” -- (I Timothy 6: 18. NASB).
Unfortunately, we also live in a “me first” world. Everyone wants to do what they want to do and when they want to do it. But the more that we think of just ourselves the more selfish and unhappy we become. If you read the Bible you will notice that throughout the Bible God instructs us to share with others. Even in the Older Testament, God put in a special commandment for sharing the food with those willing to work for the food. This was called the law of gleaning. There are several other Scriptures throughout the Bible relating to taking care of those in need. For, it is through sharing and showing the love of God that a person receives blessings from above. What’s more, we are told that those who proclaim or live by the adage of “me first” will be last in God’s Kingdom (See Matthew 20: 16). For, “God loves the person who gives cheerfully”. -- (II Corinthians 9: 7. NLT). In other words, it is the attitude with which we give of our time, help and money that is the most important. Moreover, God will reward those who have an attitude of love and kindness.
Active Relational Christian Mentoring is just one way that we can share with others and quit just thinking of ourselves. For it is through ARCM that we can introduce ourselves to another, discover her needs, and find ways to help her meet her needs. Obviously, women can and should reach out to other women throughout the year, and yes, especially at this time of the year when many things seem to overwhelm women during the Christmas season. Moreover, as Christian women, we can be there to empower another woman if we are just willing to talk, give of our time and love, and be willing to help find answers to sometimes tough questions. Above all, Christian women need to share their story of Salvation and spread the Good News wherever we can. For, we know that “The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” – (Proverbs 11:25. The Message).
Active Relational Christian Mentoring is an important service that all Christians can perform for both Christians and non-Christians alike. In fact, throughout the four Gospels we find that Christ gave us example after example of active relational Christian mentoring every time He reached out to speak to individuals or when He specifically reached out to help an individual in need. Although Christ may not have personally known the individuals that He reached out to help, He was guided by His Father and His love for His created humans in all that He did. We, too, can be guided by the Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit when it comes to reaching out to help others. We must also allow our Christian love to have precedence in our lives of service to others. We just need to pray for direction and then focus on having a generous heart filled with Christian love.
Christ came to earth to give us Salvation and to teach us how to love each other. Christ showed us the type of love that is sacrificial. Christ also gave us His love and help even knowing that others were watching Him and wanting to stop Him by killing Him. Indeed, when we read the Bible and look at the individuals that Christ reached out to help, we quickly discover that He was giving us examples of many different types of needs that humans have, along with examples of the caring and love that He expressed for strangers as He met the different needs of each individual. Christ was God incarnate and was being directed by His Father, so Christ knew that we would also need help in knowing when and how to reach out to others in need. That is why Christ has given every true Christian the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us and to show us when and how to reach out to other individuals in need. We just need to listen to the Holy Spirit. God has also given us many Scriptures to help us meditate and reflect upon what God has asked us to do. The following are just a few of those Scriptures:
“And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” – (Hebrews 13: 16. NASB).
“Whenever you are able, do good to people who need help.” – (Proverbs 3: 27. NCV).
“When we have an opportunity to help anyone, we should do it. But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers.” – (Galatians 6: 10. NCV).
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remember the words of Lord Jesus Himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – (Acts 20: 15. NIV).
My Christmas Prayer
Dear Lord, I come before You to glorify and honor You. Please help me to be a generous person now and all year long. Help me to be a person who loves others the way that You would have me love them. Please help me to honor You in all my giving. I know that true joy is found in giving, whether it is the giving of my time, my knowledge, my love, or my money to help another who has less than I do. Lord, please help me to focus throughout the year on giving and on sharing what you have graciously given to me. You have blessed me Lord in so many ways, and I thank you for all the blessings you have bestowed upon me. Now, I want to bless others, especially by blessings them with the Gospel message. So, at this joyous Christmas time of the year, please help me speak out to share the Christmas story and your gift of Salvation with anyone who needs to hear it. Lord, make me bold for You! Make my heart generous and full of love! Teach me to follow the example of Your Son, Jesus Christ, in sacrificial giving.
Lord, I also pray that the millions of Christian women throughout the world will reach out to share the Gospel message with other women and family members. I pray that they, too, will be generous with their love and generous in their Christian service for you. I ask all these things in Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen.
Learning More About Active Relational Christian Mentoring
The book, The Three-Strand Cord of Active Relational Christian Mentoring by Vicky Lynn Thomas is an easy read, as it explains the importance of women mentoring other women in service to the Lord. ARCM expresses our Christian faith through personal action by the giving of our time and energy to help another woman.
This book also makes a great Christmas present or Birthday present for another Christian woman who likes to read. It has true stories of Christian mentoring as well as true biblical stories about mentoring that show how easy it is to reach out and be there to help another woman. The book can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, iTunes, Google Play and through Christian Faith Publishing Co.
The following is the link to Amazon:
Excellent, dearest friend!!! I want to share this (and many others) on my FB. Will talk with you. Merry, Happy Christmas in Christ Jesus, our LORD and Savior, King of kings and LORD of lords, Amen.ReplyDelete