I propose the following New Year’s resolutions for The Church for 2016:
“The Church” means the entire body of Christians worldwide.
- We will feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty. (Matthew 25:35)
We will support and volunteer for organizations whose mission is to provide for the poor. They may provide food, shelter, education, medical care or other needs.
- We will welcome the stranger. (Matthew 25:35)
We will welcome strangers into our communities and into our churches and help them in any way we can.
- We will clothe the naked. (Matthew 25:36)
We will put a stop to human trafficking. We will not tolerate those who perpetrate it nor the industries that support and encourage it. We will make our local churches sanctuaries for those who are being held captive; a place where they can get assistance, resources, and protection.
We will partner with organizations who are already serving this purpose and provide them financial assistance and manpower as well as invite them to educate our congregations.
- We will visit the sick and prisoners. (Matthew 25:36)
We will have a system in place for caring for the sick in our local churches and greater communities in any way possible.
We will parter with and encourage our congregations to support and participate in prison ministry.
- We will care for orphans and widows. (James 1:27)
We will financially, emotionally, and materially support adopting and foster families and encourage more people to pursue adoption and foster care.
We will sponsor children and support economic empowerment programs so that children are not surrendered simply because their families lack the ability to provide.
We will consider orphan hosting programs and support those who choose to host.
- We will treat others the way we want to be treated. (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31) We will love our neighbors as ourselves. (Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27)
This sums up all of the above resolutions. We will treat ALL people the way we want to be treated and love ALL of our neighbors.
- Most important of all: We will love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. (Matthew 22:36, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27)
This will give us the desire to do all of the above. God will provide the ability.
Yes, our churches do these things already. My proposal is that we do MORE. That we give and serve abundantly. That we create sustainable change and help without hurting. That we create and maintain strong communities in our local churches and areas so that we can leverage our abilities to achieve the most good. I believe that some of the issues in the world today could be significantly improved if Christians would work together and each do as much as they are able to do.
These suggestions aren’t so that The Church will look great in the eyes of the world. They aren’t to be able to toot our own horn or be prideful. They are because this is what Jesus told us to do.
Matthew 6:1-4 Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Finally: Because I also need to stretch myself and do as much as I can for each of these, I will be starting a new series on Wednesdays focusing on helping in these areas. Check in this Wednesday for more on this and the first post of the series “Giving Back Wednesdays.”