Operation INASMUCH

What happens when you give over 600 volunteers, 35 churches and 6 community agencies the opportunity to serve their community as one? Well, homes get repaired, landscaping is completed, blood is donated, food banks are stocked, clothing is distributed, the elderly are appreciated and the love of Jesus is shown to an entire community. It’s my second year being part of Tappahannock Operation INASMUCH and to see so many people come together, crossing denominational lines, with one goal, to serve as Jesus served, gives us a glimpse of what it will be like in heaven one day.  To see people come together to meet the needs of people exemplifies the goodness in humanity.

Each year brings new hope. Seeing the commitment of Gleta and Steve as they dedicate countless hours to reaching the children in Tappahannock with the love of Jesus is such a source of encouragement. Watching the kids as they give their time making crafts to bring joy to the elderly and seeing a community join forces as one demonstrates the spirit of unity in Christ.

As part of that day I was given the privilege of spending some time teaching the kids the importance of serving others. I encourage you to raise up your kids to serve others as Christ served us. Let Jesus be the everlasting example of how we should commit our lives to meeting the needs of others. Allow them to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, make new friends, give clothes to those in need, take care of the sick, and visit those imprisoned.

As it says in Matthew; “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, INASMUCH as you did it for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.”

Operation INASMUCH

Clad in the uniform of the day—a bright blue shirt with the Operation Inasmuch logo emblazoned across the front—groups of Christians serving as the “hands and feet of Jesus” perform community service projects from delivering cookies to the ER and the Sheriff’s Office to yard clean-up.

Made up of an interdenominational team of volunteers from area Tappahannock VA churches, Operation Inasmuch mobilizes believers in a hands-on local church mission blitz in their community.  It offers a proven model of local ministry for any size congregation in any location.

So what’s with the name? Inasmuch is taken from Mathew 25:40 which says “Inasmuch as you have done such things for the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done the same for me.”

Being invited to be part of such an event was an honor and privilege. I was asked to be part of Project 9, the Youth Project. Children that wanted to participate in the days projects were organized into two groups, each at a different location. Gleta and Steve Jones from Radiant Life AG coordinated one of the locations. The kids were instructed to make cards, place mats and favors for those in nursing homes, and on a star, handwritten words of encouragement for someone special in their lives. I was asked to address the children at both locations and to encourage them with a biblical perspective on the responsibility we have to help others in need.

You couldn’t help but notice the blue-shirted brigade of volunteers all over the streets of Tappahannock if you were anywhere in town on that day. More than one eyebrow was raised as people encountered them. The initial reaction from a lot of folks was “what’s the catch?” They couldn’t believe that the help, the paint, the cookies were free—no strings attached. The community spirit and goodwill radiated among the givers and, eventually, the recipients alike. Volunteers of all ages felt the priceless satisfaction of doing good for goodness sake.

Helping others is a conscious decision, one that pleases the heart of God. I am glad that I was able to be part of reaching the hearts of people in Tappahannock Virginia, Essex County.

 

Fall Fest brings in Harvest

The crisp morning air ushered in the day as the sun rose over the mountain. Leaves of gold, crimson red, and orange colored the trees that lined the road. As I traveled I looked across the fields of pumpkins, gourds, soybean and corn. I passed through orchards filled with yellow and red apples hanging thick on the trees. The harvest is plentiful and there’s much work to be done before the weather turns cold.

That Saturday, Calvary’s annual Community Fall Festival, as I looked over the arriving crowd I saw a different type of harvest that consisted of mothers, fathers, children, friends and neighbors. It was the harvest that Jesus spoke of when He said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Jesus knew that the work was bigger than any one of us could handle. Similarly, when Jesus sent out the seventy-two to go before Him, He is also sending us. Jesus is sending us to actively bring in the harvest by telling others about Him. He also knows that we need help so Jesus is telling us to pray for others that would come along side and help. The Calvary church family made a conscious decision to do their part that day to bring in the harvest. When I was asked to deliver the salvation message to the children that day I was humbled yet excited to be part of those that Jesus had sent out. I knew that this was my opportunity to reach not only the children, but entire families with the message of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. And yes, we did see a harvest of over 30 decisions to follow Christ.

My prayer is that you will see the harvest today and make a decision to actively help bring that harvest into the presence of Jesus; keeping in mind what Jesus said later in that same chapter of Luke 10, “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”