Friendship Ablaze! Bible Study 5
Friendship Ablaze! does Unsolicited Acts of Kindness
Remember this cliché: “People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care”? Friendship Ablaze! recognizes that unsolicited acts of kindness(caring for others) opens the door and gives credibility to the message of God’s love that we bring.
Sometimes the very thing that keeps a person from coming into the church or considering the Christian faith is a perception that churches are self-centered, cliquish, and cold to outsiders. Unsolicited acts of kindness break down that stereotype.
Think about the importance of this as you consider the life of Jesus Christ. Read Mark 10:43-45. Do you think it is accurate to say that Jesus lived a life of care for others; did no miracle for Himself, only for others; died and rose again for others of all times and places? Why?
Write down an unsolicited act of kindness that Jesus did for someone else. If you are studying this book in a group, share your example with the other group members.
What are the implications of these thoughts for your relationships with unchurched or lost friends? What role do they play in Friendship Ablaze?
Let me share an assumption about evangelism: It is more a cultivation of care, love, and trust with another person than a one-time encounter under awkward circumstances. As you read the following, think about unsolicited acts of kindness as seeds sown that produce the fruit of relationships which serve the purpose of Friendship Ablaze!
- Ecclesiastes 11:6. What does this suggest about unsolicited acts of kindness?
- Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. How do unsolicited acts of kindness help to “prepare the soil” to receive the seed of God’s Word? And what is the result of “fertile soil”?
- John 12:24-26. How does this picture of the seed relate to unsolicited acts of kindness?
- I Corinthians 3:5-9. How does this text suggest Friendship Ablaze! is more a cultivation of relationships than a one-time encounter with a stranger?
In his book Conspiracy of Kindness, Steve Sjogren suggests the following formula: friendship evangelism = deeds of love + words of love + adequate time.
As you press forward in developing friendships Ablaze!, think about the friends on your list who are lost or simply unchurched and for whom you are praying. What is happening in their lives that gives you the opportunity for an unsolicited act of kindness? What could you do as an unsolicited act of kindness if a friend was:
- Recently divorced —
- Unemployed —
- Single parent —
- Parent of a teen —
- Recently retired —
- First year of marriage —
- Grieving the death of a loved one —
- Just moved into your neighborhood —
If you are studying this lesson in a group, share thoughts about unsolicited acts of kindness toward people in circumstances like these. This is especially important if people in the group have friends in these life situations.
Now is the time to take action! In your own worship and devotional life, your sins are forgiven and your faith strengthened by God’s grace in Jesus Christ. You have identified unchurched and lost friends for whom you can pray. You have a basic action plan to pray daily, contact weekly, remember monthly and invite appropriately. You have thought through your faith story to share boldly. You are ready to consistently demonstrate thoughtful unsolicited acts of kindness, friend to friend, with those who need Jesus’ love. It is time for Friendship Ablaze!
In closing, read John 13:12-17. Reread verse 17. Are you ready to begin?
A closing prayer:
Father, the greatest unsolicited act of kindness was giving your Son, Jesus, to die for someone like me. Through His death my sins are forgiven. Through His Resurrection I have the gift of eternal life. He truly is the source of all friendships Ablaze! Use my acts of kindness for my unchurched and lost friends to help them discover the same great reality. Help me begin today. May my every friendship be a Friendship Ablaze! In the Name of my Friend Jesus. Amen