A glance at today’s headlines could leave anyone feeling overwhelmed by the pain and devastation in our world. War. Mass shootings. Economic turmoil. The list goes on and on. I witnessed some of these hardships firsthand while visiting one of Life.Church’s global mission partners, Laliberte.live, a church in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With so many needs around in the world, it can be hard to know how to make a difference. The good news is, Jesus knew what it was like to face countless needs, and left us an example of how to make a difference when it feels like the world’s falling apart.
My favorite illustration of the example He set begins with Jesus and his disciples trying to sneak off for a little rest after meeting needs around the clock for days. In fact, there were so many needs, they didn’t even have time to eat. (Any other parents out there relate? 🙋🏻♀️) But just as they were starting their respite, Jesus saw a crowd headed His way. If it had been me, I would have made a run for the nearest resort. But not Jesus. Rather than continuing down the path He set out on, He turned toward the crowd. He saw them and had compassion on them. He went on to teach the crowd and feed all 5000+ of them. He met their spiritual needs by preaching and proclaiming truth, but He also met their physical needs.
In this story, Jesus shows us three ways to make a difference when the needs around us are overwhelming.
- He saw them. Jesus focused on who was right in front of Him.
- He recognized their needs. Jesus saw the crowd had both physical and spiritual needs.
- He had compassion. Jesus was moved by their needs, and wanted to do something about them.
- He responded to their needs. Jesus took what he had and acted to meet their needs.
Laliberte.live is a real-world example of what it looks like to meet the physical and spiritual needs around us, just like Jesus did. They dream of reaching the French-speaking community around the world. They currently have a broad online reach, and recently opened a physical location in Kinshasa, DRC. Kinshasa is home to over 17 million people, but it’s also one of the most impoverished and corrupt cities in the world. As a result, Laliberte.live realized early on that if they were going to make a difference in their community, they needed to follow Jesus’ example and meet both the spiritual and physical needs of their neighbors.
While I was in Kinshasa, I met Herman, whose life is dramatically different because of Laliberte.live. Herman is the son of a prostitute and has lived most of his life on the streets. One day, Callystia, a member of Laliberte.live, was walking through an outdoor market and saw Herman. After visiting with him, she discovered that he was not only homeless, but also had multiple medical issues and didn’t have the resources to get help. So Callystia and other church members began brainstorming ways to help meet Herman’s needs. They were able to find him housing and medical care. Herman was blown away by the generosity and love these strangers extended to him, and wanted to find out more about the church they were a part of. Now, months later, anytime the church doors are open, you can find Herman there. He experienced the love of Jesus through Callystia and Laliberte.live, and now strives to share the love of Jesus with everyone who crosses his path.
Like Laliberte.live, when we follow Jesus’ example—seeing the person before us, recognizing their need, having compassion, and using what we have to meet their need—we can make a difference in our world. In fact, there are likely organizations in your area that are doing just that. Life.Church has local mission partners in many parts of the United States that serve the homeless community, foster families, justice-involved individuals, women facing unplanned pregnancies, and much more. You can make a difference. Take a step today to live like Jesus when it feels like the world’s falling apart.