Yesterday was WATS (We Are The Sermon) Day. Southern Hills, with several other Abilene area churches, left the building early and went to do acts of service in the name of Jesus throughout our community. What a blessing it was!
I had the opportunity to be our group's team leader, which gave me the chance to meet the lady we would be working with beforehand. Josephine was the owner of the house we worked on. She was an older woman who had no family to help her. In fact, we heard story after story about how she had been mistreated by them. Her son had come by earlier in the week for the sole purpose of cutting her air conditioning line in 90 degree weather. She was in need of so many things.
We decided to take on the task of painting her house because it was very run down. It was great to see our young marrieds' class working together outside of the church building in the community. There were over 50 projects just like ours throughout the town of Abilene going on simultaneously. What a work of God. I will never preach a sermon in all the years I have ahead of me that will make such a difference in so many lives.
Yesterday, I saw the church as God intended it. We were salt and light. We were the hands of feet of God bringing cold water and shelter for dozens. Many might say the work we did could not possibly further the name of Christ, but I want to say the work we did was more powerful to Josephine than any tract or sermon could have ever been. Instead of being a church that waits for people to come into our fortresses, we were "sent out" to the lost. This has to be the model for the church in the future.
There is a picture from yesterday that will stick in my mind forever. On the corner of Josephine's street was a Church of Christ. Her house was next door to the church, but she said she had never met anyone from that church in all the years she had lived there. This woman, living in poverty in a house that is needing to be condemned, had not been visited or helped in all of these years. I was amazed, but then I was convicted. How many neighbors has Southern Hills neglected? How many neighbors struggling to get by has your church looked past? There are so Josephines in our communities who can see Christ through us if we take the time to see them and meet their needs.
Josephine couldn't have heard a message of Jesus without her house being fixed. Meals on Wheels had been planting seeds for years with her, and I believe that we have watered those seeds and I am confident God will bring the growth. What a blessing it was to serve Josephine yesterday. Yesterday was what church is all about.