Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

How God Guides…

Every day we’re called upon to love our neighbour but how do we do this best when every person and situation is so different? Thankfully, God hasn’t left us to figure this out on our own. Here are some examples of how we can discern his will. 

… Through Relationship

“My friendship with Lawrence started when he came into my office one day to ask me why I never got irritated or angry at people. He’d worked for me for 13 years but it took this simple question to open up a door through which I could talk to him about my faith and find out more about his life. I learnt that he lived with eight members of his family in a small shack in Khayelitsha and that he was the only breadwinner. Through getting to know him, I’ve been able to help him in a number of small ways. When he was having financial difficulties I helped him put together a budget. And, recently, when his younger brother was kicked out of school for violence I offered to help him find a rehabilitation centre. I feel comfortable helping Lawrence in this way because I have a relationship with him. There are times where I feel God nudging me to do something for someone that is a once-off act, like buying them a meal, but these are the exceptions as they don’t often lead to long-term fruitfulness. I feel God uses relationship to help me discern wisely.” – Roger Warr is a business owner and a member of the Common Ground Bosch PM congregation.

… Through Circumstances

“While doing my grocery shopping one Saturday morning, I noticed an elderly man in shabby clothes looking at the tinned food. As I looked for something, I realised that he was not moving on and kept glancing in my direction. My first response was to feel a little nervous. I thought, “Please don’t approach me.” I assumed he was going to ask for money. And sure enough, as I walked passed I noticed he wanted to ask me something. But he didn’t want money. He explained that he was buying some tinned pilchards for his wife and he asked me if I could please read the tin labels for him as he didn’t want to buy the one with chillies in it. My heart broke. This man had never had the opportunity to learn a basic skill that I’d taken for granted. When I thought he was going to ask for a hand out, he simply wanted the kindness of a stranger. My preconceived ideas almost got in the way of me helping this man in such a simple way that cost me nothing. Later, I wondered how many other opportunities like this God had sent my way but I’ve missed because of my own prejudice. We have to get over ourselves and listen to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit in order for God to show his love through us.” – Amy Gatland is the coordinator for the Common Ground Bosch PM congregation.

… Through His Spirit

“One Tuesday morning Heather and I were browsing for a new kettle at Clicks when we noticed an elderly lady also looking at kettles. She seemed to have chosen one but picked it up and then put it down again. We walked off to another store, found our chosen kettle at a cheaper price, bought it and left the store. All the while the picture of the lady looking at the kettle was niggling at the back of my mind. It just wouldn’t go away. We decided to go back to the store where we’d seen her and, surprisingly, she was still standing there. We approached her and asked if we could bless her with a new kettle. Tears welled up in her eyes and she related to us that for three months she had been without a kettle and that today God had prompted her to go to the shop even though she did not have the money to buy one. She quoted Philippians 4 v 19-20: ‘And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.’ She concluded with, ‘Now unto God and our Father be Glory for ever and ever.’ We each hugged her and left with tears in our eyes. I am so grateful that I didn’t ignore that niggle.”

– Dave and Heather Pendrigh serve on the eldership team of the Common Ground Rondebosch AM congregation. 

Note: God uses numerous methods to guide and speak to us. The above are just a few personal examples. For a more in-depth look at some of the ways God guides us, listen to the sermons from the Common Ground Church series “How God Guides” .

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