Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. -1 John 3:18
As Jesus sat at the home of a well-known religious leader, a sobbing prostitute came in and began to anoint his feet with a soothing ointment. She used her hair to clean his unwashed feet, as he was the man that she hoped would heal her sinful heart and offer her peace. As she poured out her heart through service to this man, whom she had never met, she kissed his feet because that was the only way she knew how to show adoration, or possibly to get something in return.
As the Pharisee saw this he began to discredit Jesus to the others in the home by ensuring them that Jesus couldn’t be a prophet. What kind of prophet would allow a prostitute to touch him?! Jesus, in all his relaxed glory, was un-phased.
In perfect parabolic peace, Jesus offered an example as to why this woman would love him and worship him so much better than those with little to thank him for. He then goes on to explain that Simon, the religious leader that had invited him to a meal, has not given him any of the services that were customary, let alone a special sort of honor or love; meanwhile, this woman had done more than he could have asked and had humiliated herself for the worship and service of the Savior. “Therefore, I tell you, her sins that are many, are forgiven- for she loved much.” (Luke 7:47a) Then he turned to the woman in complete tenderness and gave her the words that she so desperately needed, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:48) The room was in an uproar! How can he forgive someone of their sins?! Who is this man? He then told the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)
Is it any wonder that the woman from Luke 7 was drawn to Jesus? How different he was! He did not react to her shame or her sinful nature, the disgrace she was known as. He saw her true being in the image of God, the person within the shell of sin. When we look at someone as an image bearer of Christ, created by him and for him, we are humbled and drawn to love the person the way that Jesus loved this woman. When we are broken in our sinfulness we are forced to seek out Jesus wherever he may be. We fall on our knees in all of our shame and serve him however he needs it.
Serving is an act of worship. When we serve people, we love Jesus. When we do the tangible things that Jesus needs done, he gets the glory. You might be asking, how is serving others the same as serving Jesus? Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:40, “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” We do not have Jesus here in the flesh that we might anoint his feet, but Jesus tells us that we can anoint the feet of another in his place and it will be credited to us as worship to him. Is serving the people in need going to give you salvation? Absolutely not! The scripture is clear when Jesus says that it is the woman’s faith that has saved her, not the works of her tangible love at his feet. (Luke 7:50) However, Jesus does equate her actions to love, saying in verse 47 that she loved much.
Love is a verb. We must move beyond the comfort of our homes, our church, our schools and begin loving the people that are hard to love. We need to get out and find them, searching frantically for those that Jesus wants to heal through their faith. We should search the way that the woman in the story frantically searched for Jesus. There is a sort of healing that comes through humbly serving those that Jesus loves.
Here at Redeemer we make this happen through one out of four core focuses. This core focus is called the Love Initiative. We are equipping and empowering those who love Christ to serve like Christ. Through the Love Initiative we are offering another outlet for worship by serving people from the High Desert to Kenya and back. We are reaching the forgotten, lonely, and oppressed by offering physical and tangible needs along with the most important of needs: the message of the gospel. We are taking those who don’t feel called and reminding them that a calling is not a feeling but an action to be taken.
The Love Initiative consists of 8 specific ministries and a monthly local outreach and service opportunity. Wondering where you can serve? Here’s a list of options:
Food Pantry and Clothing Closet:
The food pantry and clothing closet is open to the public at 11:00 AM on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month, along with sorting, stocking, etc on various days through the month.
Agape Movement (Anti-Human Trafficking):
Meets once a month to provide life skills, art, and a lesson for coping skills to youth at-risk of exploitation.
Redeemer 1:27 (Foster Care & Adoption):
Partnering with Olive Crest, Redeemer 1:27 seeks out potential foster families and provides support for families who are loving kids by providing a stable home.
On the last Sunday of every month the prayer ministry hosts a church-wide prayer night. It is a time to gather together and pray for our community. The prayer team also gathers on Sunday mornings to pray for the worship service.
Pebbles is a ministry for widows by widows. Pebbles spend time serving the community while being there for each other’s grief. Their philosophy is that they will experience peace through fellowship and service.
Once a month the ministries of Love Initiative will come together to complete a community project while providing gospel hope.
Kids Alive Kenya:
Redeemer partners with Kids Alive to bring necessities to children in Kenya through child sponsorship and mission trips every two years.
Crash Leather (Guatemala):
Support Guatemalan missions by purchasing leather goods! All proceeds go to the mission.
Team World Vision:
Run or walk a race to bring clean water and hope to those in remote places in the world!
Please visit our Love Initiative Fair after each worship gathering this Sunday!
Feel free to email us with any questions or to get connected at email@example.com
Article by Crystal O’Rourke, The Love Initiative Coordinator