God made us a family. He gave freely first to us—and so we give freely also to others. God has been growing our Mars Hill family and giving us countless opportunities to love our city. As we continue to see God provide those opportunities, we want to rejoice in welcoming new people into our family–but we also want to welcome those who are marginalized and forgotten in our city.
You’ll notice on any walk through our city that Seattle has a high homeless population with great need both physically and spiritually. We have the great privilege of being able to meet needs in both of those areas. God has blessed us not only with the preeminent gift of the person, work, and love of Jesus, but also with great material resources. We want to use some of those resources to take care of those in our city with less than us—meeting not just physical but spiritual needs.
Loving "The least of these"
This past weekend, Mars Hill Downtown Seattle hosted its annual Christmas Coat Lunch, serving nearly 400 of Seattle’s homeless – men who have lost jobs, veterans struggling to re-adjust to civilian life, single moms with no one help support and care for them and their children, immigrant families who are struggling to make ends meet. It was an absolute joy to serve lunch, fill their stomachs, and give out coats, jackets, beanies, and scarves—a whole array of outwear for cold winter nights in Seattle.
We don’t want to just give a lunch, we want to build relationships. We had the opportunity to build hundreds of relationships that we are praying will bear fruit as people return to the church for Sunday services or community groups. Already stories are coming in of those who returned for Sunday service the next day or who were able to meet up with members from the Downtown Seattle church.
Preach in word and deed
As Christians we are called to preach the gospel in not just through our words but also through our actions (1 John 3:18). In the early days of the Church, the Roman emperor Julian observed that “The Jews take care of the Jews, and the Greeks take care of the Greeks – but the Christians take care not just of themselves, but the Jews and the Greeks as well.” This radical and yet practical demonstration of God’s love was part of the reason Christianity spread like wildfire through the ancient Roman empire, and later, the world.
God first loved us with a love greater than we can fathom or ever deserved – and so, like the Christians of the early church, we seek to love others (1 John 4:19). May we not only look to take care of our own family but also look to serve those who aren't in our family yet.