"Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
These verses in Matthew 16 (verses 13b-15, NIV) are some of the best-known in many Christian circles.
Most of us, who have been Christians for some time, know Peter's response by heart - "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God".
Often, the sermon that follows these verses focuses on Jesus' response, His agreement that He is the Messiah and that this is the "rock" on which He plans to build His church.
But, I want to go back and think a little more about Peter's response... and how his answer can strengthen your ministry and your influence in the community you serve.
I heard a pastor say recently, "You can walk the walk and you can talk the talk. But your walk talks louder than your talk talks."
Who do YOU say that Jesus is? Who are your people saying that Jesus is?
When you work in poverty communities, you can expect that the vast majority of people you meet will have a significant history of trauma. Whether you work with the homeless, mentally challenged, children living in poverty, or adolescents who need healthy adult role models, your talk is not nearly as important as your walk.
Every day, when you show up to serve, who are you telling the people that Jesus is? Who are you showing them?
Trust-building, between the community you serve and the Jesus you represent, MUST be at the forefront of your mission. Some people you meet will have a general understanding of God and Scripture. Some will have faithfully attended church for decades. Others, however, will have only ever heard the names of God and Jesus used as curses.
You've probably heard the old adage, that sometimes you're the only Bible a person will ever read. This is unbelievably true!
Who are you saying that Jesus is in your everyday interactions with the people you seek to serve?
Do you show up on time? Prepared? Are you interesting and happy to be there? Are your helpers trained to engage with the community? Are you making it easy for folks to learn more about you and about Jesus?
Or, are your volunteers tired and unhappy? Are they poorly trained and tend to say inappropriate (or hurtful) things to the people you want to "help"? Are you bringing your definition of what will "help" or are you bringing help they can actually use?
Do you show up on time? Do you bring the things you promised you'd bring last time you were there?
Can they trust you? Because if they can't trust in the people they see, how can they trust in this unseen God you are proclaiming?
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