by Barb Mazarakos
Happy New Year! It seems like each year goes a little faster and here we are now with the start of 2019, another 365 days of blank slate in front of us. Some of us may have made resolutions: lose weight, eat more veggies, read a book a month, get to church more regularly. We look at the start of a new year as a chance to better ourselves physically, mentally, spiritually. I long ago gave up making resolutions; I never seem to get past mid-January on most of them anyway. Instead I make a list at the end of each year of things I would like to improve in the year ahead. Sometimes it has to do with my physical well-being (I could definitely use more veggies and less caffeine in the new year) and others my spiritual (giving 100% focus to my daily devotional readings instead of letting my mind wander to the never shrinking to-do list makes the cut for 2019). Whatever that list holds, it is made up of things I would like to do to make myself a little better/healthier/at peace today than I was yesterday.
As I started tossing ideas around for the year ahead, I started to wonder- what if one of the ways I try to improve myself, also improves the life of someone else? Often when we think of “Missionaries”, we think of people like the 12 Apostles Pete Schrank mentioned in his article in this issue. Most were regular men called and prepared by God to go across physical borders to spread the Gospel. They sacrificed and they served and sometimes they died, all to follow the directions of the Great Commission and spread the Word of God to all the nations. You and I may not be ready to take up that kind of journey, but what about on a smaller scale? Where is God calling you to be a “Missionary” a little closer to home?
Of course the first and most obvious answer to that question could be right here at Christ Lutheran Church. There is always a need for another Sunday School or VBS staff member, singer in a choir, or writer for the newsletter. If you are handy with tools, computers, reading a lesson on a Sunday morning, or handing out bulletins before church, there’s a spot we could use you. But I would also encourage you to look beyond the walls of CLC and into our surrounding community. As we as a society seem to turn more and more into ourselves and our technology, where does that leave all of the helping agencies and people who need social contact from more than their computer screen?
Do you have a confidence working with children? Perhaps you could tutor or get involved with a mentoring program. There is no such thing as too many caring adults in the life of a child. Good in the kitchen? Double tonight’s meal for your own family and visit someone who recently lost a loved one or had a baby or suffered an injury that makes cooking hard on them. And be sure to allow time to chat with them when you drop the meal off. So many people are lonely in this big world, and what would make them happier than anything is just a conversation with someone. Know of a neighbor who doesn’t drive anymore but wants to go to church? Offer to pick them up and take them home. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Cut the elderly neighbor’s grass. Donate a toy at Christmas. If you aren’t sure where to look for such opportunities, may I suggest your local township office? If they can’t give you direction, I bet Pastor Ray could.
Mission work is all about spreading the Word of God to all people. What better way to do that than to SHOW His love in action? Our world may be getting smaller thanks to technology, but in many ways it seems to also be getting colder. As the New Year begins and you look for ways to make your life better, please consider mission work. Big or small, there are few things that feel as good as doing good for someone else.
“…do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”