Two brothers who live 60 miles apart, sitting at a kitchen table talking of helping others as the new year begins. One reveals sharing ten-dollar bills with restaurant and café workers affected by Covid-19. “It’s not much, but it is a gift.” With each one handed out the words, “Merry Christmas. Jesus Loves you!” were also rendered. In one small café when receiving his sandwich, he counted out a ten-dollar bill for every employee of the café. Turning back for a quick glance as he reached the door, it was easy to identify the expressions on the employees’ faces as they shared with each other.

The other brother smiling from ear to ear stated, “Funny you would say that. I gathered some $20 bills and got some Christmas cards, placed the bills in the cards, and handed them out randomly. One grandmother at the gas pump with her daughter and a couple of grandchildren in the car.” He shared, “When I first spoke to her and extended the card, she pretty rasped. She said, “Who are you and what is it?” The brother smiled and said “Merry Christmas.” extending the envelope with the Christmas card and the $20 bill inside. The lady still wasn’t receptive until her daughter said, “Mom, just take it.” Imagine the surprise on the faces of those two women when they got in the car and opened the envelope to find $20 from a stranger.

Jesus prayed that we would be one, united in our love for God and for one another. He told His disciples “They (those who know not God) will know you are my disciples by your love for one another. The “one another” is important. And I believe it is being missed by many who include themselves in the family of God.

Again, today I read a social media post from a Christian who was bashing other Christians whose political stance was different from her own. The word bashing is being polite. I’ve never been part of a church where everyone was of the same political mindset. Yet, I have never seen the spewing of hate from inside the church as now. The hatred of the world has not crept, it has bounded, into the church. How can we share the Love of a Holy God if we cannot even show love to others inside the church?

We, the church in North America – the people who call themselves believers- have missed out on so many great God-given opportunities to be the church in 2020. Something as simple as handing out ten-dollar bills to those who may be struggling due to the hardships of the year. Not only money, who could you have been a listening ear for, just listen and pray with one, two, ten people. Each one of us could have done that for three to ten people every week!

Being a Christian is not about spewing hatred or beating others over the head each time they mess up. Being a Christian is about sharing God’s love, showing people that you care. In 2020 we, the living church, had the opportunity to truly show the watching world that we care. As part of God’s church, how does the watching world think differently of you than one year ago? How have they seen Christ in you? What will you change about yourself in 2021 – will the world know that you care?

Two brothers living sixty miles apart, the same year, deciding to share with others in a similar fashion because God cares.

George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.

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