The Book of Order (Evangelical Presbyterian Church) says: The office of Deacon set forth in Scripture is one of compassion, concern for needs, sympathy, and serving others. Christ Himself is our ultimate model of unselfish servanthood and said, “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve (diakoneo), and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) All Christians are called and commanded to serve others, being Jesus’ hands and feet in helping, and Deacons excel at this. I am often privileged to do this for unchurched people who have no deacons or pastors to care for them. I can’t “fix” anyone or their situation, but your prayers and financial assistance allow me to imitate Christ and point people to Jesus who meets their deepest needs.
Visiting People. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to visit orphans and widows [and other hurting people] in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Writing a check is easier than spending time with people, but visiting face-to-face in their home, my home, or other places is often the most effective way to express Christ’s love and mine. I listen, pray, and bring Jesus’ comfort to needy people, sometimes in nuts and bolts practical ways like preparing for their FEMA inspection, applying for Red Cross aid, and purchasing a clothes dryer for a needy widow. Hurricane Harvey provided new opportunities to demonstrate Christ’s compassion and share His hope in word and deed. Christ heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3). The Lord has brought us new people who need His help with their hurts and He calls us to take loving action to relieve them.
Giving. Jesus says, “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of my disciples, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” (Matt 10:42) Since Christ fed both disciples and non-disciples, I do the same, bringing meals, having people to my home, or taking them out to eat. With unchurched people, I also do Bible-based evangelism and give away Christian literature. “God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went around doing good and healing all who were under Satan’s power, because God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38) We can copy Christ by His Spirit working in us and through us. We can do good to all kinds of people, especially to those who belong to Jesus’ family (Gal 6:10) and pray, asking the Lord to heal them from physical, spiritual, emotional suffering (James 5:14,15). Hurricane Harvey brought us new people who need prayer and encouragement, Biblical counseling, and financial assistance. Your support allows us to serve their recovery now and ongoingly.
Doing it for Christ. In Matthew 25, our Lord said that when we feed the hungry, relieve the thirsty, show hospitality to strangers, clothe those who need clothing, and visit the sick and imprisoned, Jesus considers that we’ve done it for Him! “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matt 25:40) All Christians are called and commanded do these “Six Acts of Mercy”, but Deacons specialize in it. I do it for unchurched people who have no deacons or pastors, aiming to connect them to Jesus and His church. Many are unemployed or under-employed, so we provide financial and job-related counsel and tangible help with crisis financial situations. Anna Waring’s hymn declares: In service which your will appoints, there are no bonds for me. My secret heart is taught the truth that makes your children free. A life of self-renouncing love is one of liberty.
Thank you for helping me to be a “deacon” and pastor to people who have none! You can do the same. And you can help the deacons, elders, and pastors in your church to serve others with Christ’s amazing love.