Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2016
Jesus on Community Outreach
July 30, 2016
Texts: Luke 4:16-19, 10:25-37, Matthew 5:13, Isaiah 2:8, John 4:35-38, Matthew 13:3-9.
The heart of the message of our lesson is captured this week in the story of a young boy in Virginia. Carmine McDaniel was concerned about the mail carrier working outside in record heat, so he left cold drinks in a cooler on the porch with a sign on top that read, “Mailman: Water & Gatorade in cooler. Have a good day.”
Thanks to an exterior camera and a mom who posted on social media, we have heard the story. A small act of kindness, of concern, went viral when ABC news interviewed the boy. Something as insignificant as giving water to a neighbor who is working, or mowing a lawn, or to homeless individuals who are trying to survive in the summer heat may not always reach national news, but it will make an impact on at least two people—the one giving and the one receiving.
An 8-year-old boy in Newport News, Virginia, showed how an act of kindness—an act of reaching out to his community—can not only make a difference to a hard-working mail carrier, it can also inspire others to reach out as well. 
In our Sabbath School lesson this week, we study first-hand how Jesus reached out to those in the community around Him. We can see that the message was one of love, mercy, and empathy for those who were in need. In the examples given, some were in need of healing, and all were in need of empathy, of love, of salvation. Isn’t that what salt brings to the world?
Salt adds something that makes things not just okay, not just better, but spot-on. Jesus shared with us in these stories how, that as salt, we bring something to the world that it lacks. People are searching and longing for something they can’t identify. They avoid helping, they circumvent reaching out. Instead, many cast blame for the circumstances and misfortunes that people find themselves in, and in doing so, try to alleviate the sense of guilt that comes from not caring.
Caring can begin in small ways, a conversation, a drink of water, or a hand with a heavy load. Luke 4:16-19 reminds us we are called to the poor, the brokenhearted, the captive, the blind, and the oppressed, none of which may seem desirable to approach. But that is the difference in the Gospel, or the Good News. Those are precious to Jesus and will be so to us as well as we seek to follow in sowing and reaping.