Babylon Falling Grace Rising

Are We Too Stressed Or Busy to Care About the Lost?

Share

Babylon Falling-Grace Rising #8

Babylon, an ancient city in the Bible known for its wickedness, has become a symbol for all that is in rebellion in any culture, against the one, true God.

Active grace and truth are the lifestyle pillars of every Christian who longs to be light and salt in an ever-darkening world.  

Babylon is falling and people are not lovin’ the stress it’s creating. Folks around us are breaking down at an alarming rate. The stresses of the last two years are taking a toll on millions. Previously mild-mannered humans now screech at clerks in the grocery store because their brand of pickle is out of stock or yell at a server who left tomato on their burger. Yes, there’s always been hot-tempered, unstable types around us, but that number has increased dramatically.  Gallup’s 2021 global survey of adult emotions found that more people felt “stressed, sad, angry and worried,” than ever before, since Gallup started doing these polls.

If you cruise through social media videos you can’t avoid someone ranting about the current state of their life and the world. And those people who were already on the wrong end of the nasty/nice scale are ramping up their game doing stuff like rear ending slow drivers and then taking off. The National Insurance Institute reports that 54% of all traffic fatalities are from aggressive driving. In just the first half of 2021, traffic fatalities in the United States were up by 18%. Connect the dots.

God-followers are experiencing the same stresses, setbacks, griefs, and disappointments that the last 24 months have delivered up to us. How are we doing? Are we keeping a posture of gratitude and faith or are we looking and sounding like our lost friends and coworkers? Are we so busy in “survival mode,” we are missing the silent cries of individuals and families who are crumbling and delaminating?

In my last post I promised that I’d share some ideas about ways to connect with lost people so that you may earn the right to share your faith in Christ. I will do that later in this article but there’s no point in reading that for the believer who is controlled by fear and stress themselves. Or the believer who is engulfed completely in a survival posture; they are doing well but they are oblivious to the people breaking down around them.

I’m not judging, I’m preaching to myself. There were days in 2020 when I’d take brisk walks three to four times a day to burn up the adrenaline that unrighteous anger had produced. I think millions of us had the pins knocked out from under us for a while with all the confusion and conflicting narratives. I know I forgot sometimes to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus instead looking downward at my circumstances. Our perfect example, our perfect sacrifice, our perfect friend, Jesus, never ever did that, even the week of his death.

During the week of Easter, I read the last chapters of all four gospels. I wanted to remind myself of what Jesus did and said as the days of his torture and death came closer. I encourage you to take time to do the same so you can see what I did. I can tell you this, he wasn’t yelling about pickles and tomatoes. He chewed out greedy salespeople in the temple courts who had turned a sacred place into a mini mall.

Other than his throwdown in the temple, Jesus spent his last days teaching and loving people and breaking bread with them. How might you and I spend our last days before a scheduled execution? What would our emotions be like? Where would we spend our time and with whom, talking about what? Dear ones, we are acting like we have all the time in the world to reach lost people. We don’t. God has not promised tomorrow to me or you. He’s given us today.

Let’s take a few moments with God before we keep going and ask ourselves these questions:

  • How much of my thoughts, words, and actions since March of 2020 have been led solely by the Holy Spirit and how many were driven by negative emotions like anger and fear?
  • If I’m honest about what occupies most of my thoughts and words during a typical day, are they God and others centered or is there too much “my” in there. My health. My family. My job. My home. My needs. My, my, the things that are revealed about our characters when we are under a long-term stressful situation. Right?

We are going to need to sort this out with God and get a clean start with forgiveness and right attitudes before we turn our attention to the needs of others. If we are trying to connect with the lost so we can check a box or to stop guilt feelings our efforts will be tainted. Jesus didn’t invest himself in people to finish off some heavenly to do list or because he had a guilty conscience. Love drove him. Love for God the father and love for his lost sheep. If anything beyond that is tangled in your motivations, like impressing people or building your resume, don’t waste your time. Remember, people look at your outsides, but God looks at the interior primarily. (1 Samuel 16:7)

With that said, here’s ideas that I’ve done myself or observed other believers doing to build bridges and roads with the lost and the under churched. (They know God but are staying away from his people)

Neighbors

  • Host backyard picnics and campfires or street parties. Run off some invitations on your printer and then stick in people’s door handles or some other appropriate place. We usually make ours potluck.
  • Give away stuff. Before I take anything to the thrift store, I let my neighbors know about it to see if anyone needs it. There are several ways of communication you can set up, like a messenger thread on Facebook or websites designed for neighborhood communication. Or stick it at the end of your driveway with a free sign. Become known as a giver in your neighborhood.
  • Take your family Christmas caroling.
  • Make or bake something special like caramel corn at Christmas or pumpkin bread at Thanksgiving and share it with your closest neighbors. One of my neighbors puts tons of extra produce from her garden on a table in the front yard with a “Free” sign on it.
  • Host a game night. We’ve hosted Euchre parties at our house. Everyone brings a snack to pass.
  • Put a prayer box somewhere by your home, apartment or condo door and let neighbors know that you check it every day and will be praying for requests.
  • Share plants from your house or garden. Dividing outdoor or indoor plants is a fantastic opportunity to share with others. I’ve developed relationships just standing and talking about plants.
  • Host a neighborhood Bible study. You can do this in a community room too if your condo or apartment is small.

Coworkers

  • Be the one to initiate celebrations of life (weddings, funerals, retirements,) or be a helper to someone else who is. Things like baby shower or going in together on a funeral plant for someone can really break the ice of a hard heart. Don’t wait around for someone else to do it and miss the time and season for certain things. Maybe you are the only one who ever does this stuff in your workplace, and you’re tempted to get a bit cynical. Don’t. Keep your heart pure. God sees and loves what you’re doing.
  • Listen when people talk. If they are going through a tough time, ask if you may pray for them. Yes, do this even for that one that complains about everything all the time. They need Jesus, and you’ve got him.
  • Invite work folks to your home for parties or dinners for occasions or no occasion.
  • Bring treats and gifts to work, just like your neighbors. Find little ways to say, “You matter. I see you.”
  • Start a Bible study or prayer group at work, if your boss or owner is good with that. Don’t hassle them if they’re not. Pray for them.

Lost People in the Marketplace

  • Let your waiter or waitress know that you will be praying before your meal and ask them if there’s anything you’d like them to pray about. You’ll be amazed.
  • Leave generous tips.
  • Speak kindly and respectfully to store associates and businesspeople even when they are acting rude or nasty.
  • Don’t avoid the person who appears to be melting down in public, unless they appear dangerous. Ask them if you can help them.
  • Offer to reach things off store shelves for people in wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters before they ask. They get tired of asking and will take risks they shouldn’t.
  • Don’t look all judgy at a parent whose kid is having a public meltdown. Keep a look of compassion on your face. You don’t know the whole story. I have friends who have struck up entire conversations with frazzled parents and prayed for them right there in the checkout line.
  • Be careful to praise a store clerk who is authentically helpful and kind. These days, I often just thank everyone wherever I go for just showing up for work because there are so many who aren’t.

This is just a drop of all the ideas God has for us to connect with lost people. He is orchestrating events and people so that we will intersect with people at certain times. Are we paying attention? Are we responding to God’s nudges? Are we going to extra work and spending our resources to be salt and light? Heavenly Father, help us to care and care well.

Please follow and like us:
error0
Tweet 20
fb-share-icon20

One Comment

Leave a Reply to Carol T Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow by Email