May 25, 2009
Rescue the Abandoned
“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”
I Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV)
The thought of callously abandoning an infant without nourishment or protection seems incomprehensible. Unfortunately, it happens every day. Often it happens in the church.
Sometimes I’ve been the one who abandons. Many times newborn Christians are sent out into their fresh spiritual life with little more than a “God bless you” and pat on the back. These excited new followers of Jesus set off on an unfamiliar path brimming with zeal and hope. But they often begin to stumble and fall quickly without mature Christians to answer their questions, clear up confusion and encourage them through the inevitable rough spots. Although no one can snatch them from their Father’s hand, many new Christians fall prey to discouragement and walk paths that are less than the ones for which they were created.
There are many reasons that baby Christians are abandoned and left to walk alone without nourishment or protection. I think that one of the main reasons is the busyness of our culture. Our time is demanded by our families, jobs, friendships, computer, tv…. Nurturing a baby Christian takes time. It takes patience. It takes commitment; but most of all it takes true love. Robert Coleman, author of The Master Plan of Evangelism, says, “There is a lot of talk in the church about evangelism and Christian nurture, but little concern for personal association when it becomes evident that such work involves the sacrifice of personal indulgence.”
Ouch! I really wish he would move along and get out of my personal space! He continues, “Unless new Christians, if indeed they are saved, have parents or friends who will fill the gap in a real way, they are left entirely on their own to find the solutions to innumerable practical problems confronting their lives, any one of which could mean disaster to their new faith.”
God has recently delivered a precious new soul into the lives of our family. One of my son’s friends, Lindsey, had begun asking some very big questions. He had the chance to talk with her about Jesus, and at a church youth retreat, Lindsey gave her heart to the Lord. It’s a thrill to watch her as she falls in love with her Savior and begins a brand new life. She still has lots of questions though, and it is very obvious that many are being called to come alongside. Lindsey’s Christian friends surround her with support at their high school and are committed to bring her to church. Adult friends visit her home and are building relationships with her family. I am leading a small group to help teach some of the basic foundations of the faith and practices that lead to growth.
Lindsey is an example of one of the sweetest of babies, but what about the others? Not all newborns are rosy-cheeked and smell like powder! Many Christian babies are entering their new life dragging lots of baggage. Financial crisis, promiscuity, addiction and bitterness are just a few of the very real problems new Christians may tow.
Will we commit to feeding, cleaning, nurturing and loving these babies? It may seem easier just to pack them off and walk away, but the toll is too high for the Kingdom. Trusting in the transforming power of Christ and asking Him to make us an instrument of His grace, let’s commit to being workers in the “infant nursery” of our church as we care for these precious new believers.
Dear Lord, You are a kind, loving and nurturing Father. Help me to follow in Your footsteps as I nurture your newest children. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Finding a Mentor, Being a Mentor by Donno Otto
Apples of Gold: A Six-Week Nurturing Program for Women by Betty Huizenga
Visit Amy’s blog
Feed—Ask a young Christian to attend a Bible study with you. Go out to coffee to discuss it afterward.
Bathe—Call a new Christian to share something that helps you to grow. Ask for requests and pray with her.
Protect—Do you see a new Christian struggling with a sin with which you’ve found victory? Be transparent and share your story!
Who do I know that may need to be nurtured in the faith?
How might I reach out in support?
I Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (NIV)
© 2009 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 25 May 2009.