Desiring and Doing Good for Others

June 30, 2023

Matthew 25:40 (CEV) says, “The king will answer, ‘Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.’”

There is one question that would haunt me when I was the pastor of a local church: “If your church shut its doors, would your community miss you?” When I had the privilege of serving as the Arizona Conference president, we did a survey to find out what the community thought of our conference office. The answer was disheartening: most thought our office was a warehouse. While this was not the answer I was hoping for, the good news was and still is, we can do something to change that!

I have come to be passionate about the following quote in The Ministry of Healing, which we know well and use a lot: “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’” It’s very interesting to note that Jesus spent more time healing people than preaching to them. How well do you mingle with people? I’ll be honest, one-on-one conversations are not easy for me. But, I realized that if I’m passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus, I have to mingle with people. Then I discovered something. Most of the time, people were very willing to have a conversation with me. It wasn’t as awkward as I had thought. It’s not as complicated as we make it.

In Arizona, our neighbors to the right of us would have loud parties on a regular basis and a lot of alcohol was consumed. The next day, bags full of beer cans were placed outside to be picked up by the city. The problem was that only trash in the “official bin” would be picked up.

Well, I had an extra trash can, and I would often offer my second trash can for them to use. Did I give them a Bible study as well? No! I mingled with them and established a friendship. They knew we were Christians, and I knew the moment would come when God was going to use my family to be a specific witness to them, which would lead to sharing the beautiful truths found in God’s Word.

A significant moment in my ministry came at a retreat when Angel Manuel Rodriguez, the director of the Biblical Research Institute at the time, made the following statement, “Seventh-day Adventists must go to the marketplace.” In other words, we need to be present, relevant and involved. Matthew 25 is significant, isn’t it!

Notice that Jesus did not mention preaching, or indoctrinating, as important as they truly are. He mentioned deeds of compassion. How are you and your church doing with that? Every day God will give us opportunities to be His hands and feet, and for some that may be their only moment to see God. May we not miss those precious moments, but may we be looking for them and willing to engage so that we can share the wonderful news that Jesus loves everyone and is coming soon!

By Tony Anobile

Vice President for Church Ministries