By Shane Bennett
Gratitude for Luke 10:2 Answers
Can I tell you something really fun? I’m in Italy this week and ate dinner this evening in Catania, Sicily, one of my favorite cities on the planet. My dining companions were eight intrepid believers from all over the US, laborers for the harvest who have agreed to be our first “official” group, the real guinea pigs, for the Care for Catania vision.
I’ve asked you before to set a daily alarm on your phone at 10:02am to pray as Jesus told us in Luke 10:2, “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest.” That alarm went off this morning as I made my way to the airport to pick up my friends flying in. I had a moment of deep, profound gratitude: God has answered the prayer so many have prayed over the past years. Laborers have been sent to my town! And this prayer is not just being answered in my tiny corner of the world, nor with this group alone: God is sending ambassadors from all over to all over. But I sure am thankful for these guys. Will you join me in gratitude for the many ways God is answering this prayer?
Grieving For Orlando
While the young Italian hostess checked us into our AirBNB flat this afternoon, she asked what had brought us to Italy. I told her we wanted to learn about the migrant situation there and perhaps help people a bit. Even as I said that, it was hard to set aside the thought that it’s crazy for me as an American, a resident of a country that had so recently experienced the nightmare in Orlando, to think I could help other people in another country. On one level it feels absurd.
But what was true a week ago is true today: People who love Jesus need to try to follow him; not just believe what he said, but do it as well. One writer framed a Jesus-honoring, faith-over-fear response like this:
“First, look for practical ways to help. Many donated blood yesterday, but more will be needed in coming days, especially rarer blood types. CNN lists several organizations that have set up sites for financial donations to help cover the funeral and medical costs of the victims. Let us be ‘doers of the word, and not hearers only’ (James 1:22).
“Second, stand in solidarity with those who are suffering. Baptist ethicist Russell Moore was right when he tweeted: ‘Christian, your gay or lesbian neighbor is probably really scared right now. Whatever our genuine disagreements, let’s love and pray.’ As Ted Cruz noted, ‘nobody has a right to murder someone who doesn’t share their faith or sexual orientation.’ If we claim to love God, we must love those he loves (1 John 4:20). And he loves us all (John 3:16).
“Third, turn your fears into faith. Be careful and vigilant, but live with bold passion and triumphant trust. Every time fear attacks, name it. Describe it specifically to God. Ask his Spirit to give you courage. And you will discover that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).
“In coming days, as we learn the stories of lives ended and families shattered, we will be tempted by despair. As we face the threat of further terrorism, we will be tempted by dread. But as believers, we do not grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Because no matter how bad things get, our Father is Lord. And he is love (1 John 4:8).”
At dinner tonight, my friend Jenny shared this fundraising gem: “I figured if George Clooney could ask friends to pony up $300K for dinner with Hillary Clinton, I could ask $40 for a great dinner and a chance to hear me talk about God’s work among refugees.”
Turns out she was right. The dinner she cooked was hosted by a current supporter who invited several friends, each of whom paid $40 to attend. Between the three courses Jenny told about her upcoming work. Over dessert she invited the guests to contribute further to her efforts. That dinner has netted Jenny over $800 so far and also initiated relationships with several new people. Of course it also blessed the diners with fresh, helpful information and full, happy tummies. Contact me for more details or the info flyer Jenny used to describe the strategy and recruit hosts.
I hope you have a great summer. Look forward to more quick, talk-worthy ideas and a report on God’s growing kingdom among refugees in Sicily.
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