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hope for churches in stress


As a cashier at a supermarket, I interacted with the men, woman, and children who streamed through my check-out line. From them, I gained a deeper respect and greater concern for the people of our community.

I realized that everyone we meet can enrich us. We can enjoy banter, gain insights, discover talents, find beauty, see character, and get fairly reliable weather forecasts—all in ordinary conversation with people.

It is evident that God is lavish in giving abilities to people. This profusion of strengths is a reminder not to think of our own gifting more highly than we ought, but to rejoice in the talents and skills of others (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 7:17).

With these skills, most people are contributing to the common good. In their day-to-day work and community activities, they are serving their neighbors and the larger society. They are instruments of God’s care for the world (Mt. 5:45).

Not far beneath the surface, many—perhaps most—people have some trouble. It is no wonder that Jesus, when he saw the crowds, “had compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.” (Mt. 9:36)

We can appreciate and rejoice in the people we meet, all made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-28). At the same time, we ache for the troubles they bear and yearn for them to enter into the grace of salvation in Jesus Christ (Jn. 3:16).

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