November 17, 2008

Speak or Act?

I really don't do any serious, heavy posting but this one's a little more like that. This is just a post about an experience and how it has taught me something. I'm not typically a Christian that wears my faith on my sleeve. I get upset when people suggest that this type of behavior is not really being "Christian". I don't think that being a Christian must consist of daily public accolades of how much God has done in my life. Before you judge please give me the benefit of the doubt and keep reading. I'm a believer in the actions speak louder than words kind of living. Genuine actions that come with no strings attached, being a real person to those around me and through that I hope they see love, kindness, gentleness, sincerity, unselfishness.....the spirit of Christ....not just the right words.
Why do I post this? Sunday our church didn't actually have church. Instead we were asked to sign up to "do" something to show our love to the community around us. It wasn't about carrying around Bibles and ministering to all we came into contact with. It was all about showing others an outflow of Christ's love with nothing but our actions. Dave and I signed up to go door to door to collect food in the Zeeland area for His Harvest Stand. Their need at the food pantry is immense with donations being down and families in need being up. In the past 2 1/2 years I've looked at my bank account and been scared by how little money was there and I've been hungry for my next meal before but I have never actually been without food with no way to get it.

I was a little concerned that doors would get shut in our face and people would be unwilling to give but the morning proved to be anything but that. Home after home people graciously gave out of their own cupboards, be it a can or two or almost an entire grocery bag full. I have no idea if these people went to church or even know who God is but that didn't matter, they chose to give. To make my point about actions speaking louder that words was the one woman who shut the door on me. When I told her that our church was collecting food for the pantry she asked "what church?" I told her I was from Victory Point. She looked annoyed and responded with "I give to my own church" and shut the door. Is that the idea that we as Christians give to those around us, that being part of a church is as though we are a member of some exclusive club and that's as far as our Christianity goes? This lady was dressed in her Sunday best when I was on her doorstep but her actions made it seem as though any words about God's great love that had been spoken to her during the morning service had fallen on deaf ears.
Just as any TRULY genuine act of kindness there was no reward or recognition for participating. The funny thing is that when you're not looking reward, you get it. The reward was simply the feeling of knowing that as we carried the bags and boxes into the food pantry the shelves would be filled to feed families for another few days and that in a world where so many things seem dismal and bad there are people who didn't say a single word about God or their faith as I took their food but through their action of giving made me feel as though there is hope in the world. So my thought for the day, speak or act?

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