I can remember when I was going through the motions of being a Christian. I was busy following the "Coliseum games" and "Chariot races" of our day and thinking of how much I must do and not how much can I do. I guess the best term to describe it is lukewarmness.
"...for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me." Matthew 25:35, 36.
I was thinking of how each one of us will answer our Lord on the judgment day about reaching out to our fellowman when he is in need.
Many in the world feel that those in jail or prison are not worth the time and effort to teach the gospel ... I am ashamed that more of our brothers and sisters are not involved with the jail and prison ministries. The denominations are "running over one another" to come in and to speak and teach.
The most successful way I see to go into these institutions is to have teams of two to four who can work together to make sure someone is always there and have some time off for vacations, emergencies, etc. No, you do not have to be a preacher. The main thing is to truly care and love your fellowman. As the saying goes, "I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care." Those who care will be the most effective and successful. It takes patience and perseverance with love just as out there. You will find someone who has time to listen.
I have never seen or heard of anyone threatened during the services. I believe if you ask anyone involved, they will tell you they have more disruptions in the services out there.
Remember the man in Matthew 24:30 who was afraid to use the talent his master gave him. (v. 25) "The harvest is ripe but the laborers are few."
Let us not be like the church at Laodicea (Revelation 3:15-16) and make our Lord vomit at our lukewarm righteousness! Let us bear fruit. Matthew 7:19, 20.
I am sure if you are interested in the ministries to jails and prisons that Ron Reeves of the Golf St. church of Christ, Elkins, WV, or Gene Miller who works with those in the Central Regional Jail, Flatwoods, WV, could give you some guidance and insight.
If you cannot, I am sure there is a poor neighbor or widow down the street or someone forgotten in a nursing home who would appreciate a visit and a brightening up of his or her day! In His Service, Dennis Burch. Matthew 25:40. #24333 Huttonsville Correctional Center, PO Box 1, Huttonsville, WV 26273. (Read brother Dennis' report on page 7.)
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