“Jesus ministered to people according to their needs. He showed heartfelt sympathy towards individuals even when they did not quite grasp what God’s kingdom is about. Do we lovingly care for people irrespective of their ultimately becoming disciples? Do we allow God to reach to us through their lives and minister to us as we also minister to them? Are we open to give through receiving? I believe what people need most is genuine love that is expressed through personal care, investment of time, energy, heartfelt empathy, and mutual friendship.”

Simret Mahary is pastor and director of PRESENCE kulturlounge, an urban Center of Influence in Frankfurt/Main, Germany.

“In one of the churches I planted, we asked God to send us the people that nobody wants. Rather than merely sharing our bread with the less fortunate, we decided to share our lives. We befriended Pam, who was living in chronic homelessness and came out of the woods every Sabbath to worship and eat with us. She spoke about her dream to become an artist and her frustrations in not realizing it. We helped her start a cash business painting t-shirts for $10 each, from which she tithed cash on Sabbath. That business enabled her to purchase a bicycle and, more importantly, pursue her dreams. She eventually accepted Jesus, in part because we entered into her world. The sympathy of Jesus does that.”

Anthony WagenerSmith is a church planter, church planting coordinator, and pastor of LifeSpring Adventist Church in Tampa, United States.