You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:13-16)
For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work. Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world. (Philippians 2:13-15)
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us. (1 John 4:11-12)
The two previous articles described the power of the Gospel message and the power of our own testimony in evangelization. This article, “The Power of Our Actions in Evangelization,” describes the important role our actions can play in drawing others to the person of Jesus Christ and his great love for them. The next article will define a fairly simple approach that can be used to evangelize other men.
Let me start off this article with some questions for you to reflect on. What does your life and your actions communicate to others regarding who you are as a Catholic man? Does “your light” shine before others? Do others “see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:16)? Do you do “everything without grumbling or questioning” so that “you shine like lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14-15)?
We can all be so busy with our everyday lives that we fail to recognize that our actions can bring people to Jesus just by being a friendly neighbor, a helpful co-worker, or a loving and forgiving friend. Sometimes the smallest of gestures can have the biggest impact, like picking up the phone and letting someone know you’ve been thinking of them or inviting the new family on the block over for dinner. Gestures like these can open up a world of opportunities for evangelization and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.
Many of us are high-energy people with a list of things we want to accomplish. When some trial or difficulty sidelines us, we become frustrated and even lose our peace. We may forget to turn to the Lord for his strength and his guidance. We may even find it hard to praise our Heavenly Father, who loves us in all circumstances. And then, when he finally does rescue us from a difficult situation, we dust ourselves off and charge ahead as before.
This isn’t always a bad thing. But sometimes God asks us to rise up and be different. Sometimes the best thing we can do is not lose our peace, even in the face of injustice or in the midst of a struggle. Often, it is the way that we hold our ground that impacts people the most deeply— sometimes far more than the words we speak.
Very few of us will ever become famous. We may never have books written about us, but it doesn’t matter. We can all play an important role in building the kingdom of God just by looking for the opportunities that are right here in our home, workplace, church, and community. You may have to wait patiently for a bit before you see God work through you—and it may not always come through something dramatic. However, if you stay close to the Lord and try your best to hold onto your joy, the witness of your love and peace will make a difference in someone else’s life.
As you keep your eyes fixed on the Lord, you will begin to notice how many ways you can share God’s love through your actions (1 John 4:11-12). And the best part is, God will give you a double portion of grace to do what he is asking of you.
“Father, help me to see the opportunities you give me to share your great love through how I live my life. Lord Jesus, I want others to see your life in me. I want to be a humble yet powerful witness to your love through my actions, in both good times and difficult times.”
(Maurice Blumberg was the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/), and is currently a Trustee. He is also the Director of Partner Relations for Partners in Evangelism, (http://www2.wau.org/partners/), a Ministry to the Military and Prisoners for The Word Among Us. Maurice can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/) for allowing me to adapt some material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. How would you answer the questions at the beginning of the article?
- What does your life and your actions communicate to others regarding who you are as a Catholic man?
- Does “your light” shine before others?
- Do others “see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:16)?
- Do you do “everything without grumbling or questioning” so that “you shine like lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14-15)?
2. The article goes on to say that “our actions can bring people to Jesus just by being a friendly neighbor, a helpful co-worker, or a loving and forgiving friend. Sometimes the smallest of gestures can have the biggest impact, like picking up the phone and letting someone know you’ve been thinking of them or inviting the new family on the block over for dinner.” Do you believe this? Why or why not?
3. Can you share some examples from your own life how your actions made a difference in the faith life of someone who was far from the Lord?
4. In what ways does the busyness of your own life sometimes get in the way of reaching out to others in a Christian way? What steps can you take to change this in some small way?
5. Take a minute to list some opportunities to reach out to others as a Christian in your home, workplace, church, and community. Which ones could you act on now in some way?
6. The article ends with these words: “As you keep your eyes fixed on the Lord, you will begin to notice how many ways you can share God’s love through your actions (1 John 4:11-12). And the best part is, God will give you a double portion of grace to do what he is asking of you.” Do you believe this will happen for you as you take some additional steps to reach out to others? Why or why not?
7. If you are in a men’s group, end your meeting by praying for one another that you would be more open to opportunities to share the Lord’s love with others through your actions. Use the prayer at the end of the article as the starting point.