"They appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith." Acts 14:23
Whether the elders appointed to help widows and orphans in the early church were priests is a disputed matter among scholars. That a need was addressed directly and compassionately is not, and remains a simple and important lesson for us today. When we fail to listen to the everyday needs of those with whom we live and those we are called to serve, the gospel loses its powers to move inquirers to transformation.
Gratefully, most of us don't struggle trying to remember acts of compassion shown to us throughout our lives. A glass of water or juice for a young sweaty child on a hot summer day seems as fresh today as it was then, and witnessing kindnesses to the elderly are always moving. But it is our commitment each day to notice and respond to those in need that convinces seekers about the Gospel's truth and power.
With the social media overwhelmed with incidents and stories about the bombing in Boston, and the desire of many to seek vengeance, our spirits are lifted up not only by the heroism of first responders, but by those who continue to help those impacted by the suffering and death that surround awful events like this.
Today, give a drink to a thirsty child.
What actions most convince you of the power of the Gospel?