We live in a world where people feel alone. From the social separation of the pandemic to the distance of social media, many people feel like outsiders. As followers of Jesus, we are called to care for outsiders.
In writing to the church at Philippi, Paul wrote of Jesus coming from heaven as an outsider into our broken world. He left heaven’s perfection to go into our world’s brokenness. The true outsider became an insider to rescue people like us living as outsiders on the margins, lost in our brokenness. In describing this picture of Jesus to the church, Paul writes that Christians should “let each of you not only look to your own interests, but also the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4 ESV). We have been invited to join Jesus in engaging the outsiders in the world around us.
Who are today’s outsiders? The outsider could be the single mom at church who doesn’t have a place in the church’s small group structure. The outsider could be the Afghan or Ukrainian refugee who has moved to your community. The outsider could be the new student at your child’s school. The outsider could be a widowed neighbor down the street. Here are three ways our families can seek to care for outsiders.
1. Notice the Outsider. It is easy for us to get busy with our lives and miss the people God is putting on our path. Noticing takes both time and intention. Pray that God would open you and your family’s eyes to the outsiders around you.
2. Engage the Outsider. Start a conversation, take them a meal, invite them to come to sit at the lunch table beside you, and tangibly show them love and grace. Be willing to get to know the outsiders around you.
3. Befriend the Outsider. Let the engagement be the launching point for the relationship. Bring them into the life of your family. Let them join the lunch group in the elementary school cafeteria. Go together to the ball game.
As we engage outsiders by inviting them to be a part of our family, we will be able to point people by our love and friendship to Jesus, who took outsiders like us and made us part of His family.
Missions Minister at Christ Church Birmingham
Writer and Speaker