Fingerprints of Grace

by Pastor Daryl Largis

In the past several days, what have you left your fingerprints upon that others could discover? We are all familiar with the television shows whereby fingerprints are assumed, searched for, found, captured, and then matched with a person. Fingerprints in these television shows routinely are the critical if not the only piece of evidence connecting a person to an action.  It is highly unlikely that you or I would be a character on such a show whereby our fingerprints gave us away as the person responsible.  Even so, there is a scenario that I hope each of us have in that we have left multiple fingerprints as evidence of our activity.

God’s Word is abundantly clear in numerous cases in how we, as redeemed Christ-followers, are to live and interact with other people, specifically other believers. There should be direct, incontrovertible, and abundant evidence of our activity along these lines. So, a question for you and me is, “Where are our fingerprints as Christ-followers?”  Are they on our stuff and on our money? Meaning ourselves, sort of speaking, in terms of only caring for the things that involve us? Are they on friends and only those we like and love?  Are they on the hurting and needy? While it is clear God has an expectation that as His representation in this world, our fingerprints are on creation to care for it, nurture it, and shape it, it’s also clear that our fingerprints are on those who are estranged from God such that they can see, hear, and experience the gospel.  Furthermore, God has a specific expectation that His people are to care for one another.  As an aside, one of the best ways for those who need to hear, to see, and to experience the gospel is for them to be touched by a Christ-follower—a Christ-follower who understands their mission and responsibilities, who is healthy in terms of their emotional, physical, and spiritual dimensions, who is a powerful force in this world.  Likewise, when the whole Body of Christ is strong, it will accomplish more in terms of this mission than a couple of superstars.  Conversely, when a portion of the Body, if you will, is anemic, they will not be as effective in terms of God’s mission. This mission – God’s mission – invites us as His church to fully participate in that it is for all, not just a few.  As such, it seems strategic to ensure that the whole Body is cared for so that it can accomplish all that God intends.   

So, does God’s Word speak to this concept directly? Yes, it absolutely does. The following Scripture passages are but a sampling of how God exhorts His redeemed people to care for one another such that they can corporately accomplish all that He desires and intends:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:9-10)

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:23-24)

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”— when you already have it with you. (Proverbs 3:27-28)

One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.  (Proverbs 11:24)

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.  (Proverbs 11:25)

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. (James 4:17)

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12 )

Helping others, especially fellow believers should be as breathing for the Christ-follower. It should not be thought of or even described as our second nature, it is our new nature. Even so, this new nature needs to be supported, encouraged, nurtured, stretched and deployed. It is understood that a solid ministry environment is required that creates a health for the Christ-follower to grow and mature. So in terms of healthy ministry environment, I would describe it as the following noting the list is not comprehensive but meant to be more illustrative:

High-Teach: This is being in an environment that has a high level of teaching as it relates to what God’s Word says, means, and how it can be applied.  This is dimensioned in terms of quality, depth, and quantity of biblical teaching that compels the participant to live a life of godliness in ever-increasing ways. I believe we have and continue to be blessed with a high degree of capacity and competency in this regard at The Chapel.

High-Tech:  The culture in which we live affords many unique and creative ways to deliver the timeless message in the Bible. We should take full advantage of this technology so that not only are we effective and efficient but also relevant in terms of accessibility and usability.  I believe The Chapel does its best here and in doing so does a decent job, but this is a challenge given the pace of the culture in which we live.

High-Thought:  This concept involves the exploration, understanding, planning, and then execution of the things of God related to the nature and purpose of the Church – its leadership, its membership, and its global collective. I believe The Chapel, while still refining and reimagining what this looks like where we have invitation, does a great job in thinking through what does God want and then, what would it look like if He did what He wanted.

High-Touch:  This category involves less on the what, the where, and the when but gets more at the how.  We can be High-Teach, High-Tech, and High-Thought but it is High-Touch that makes a difference in the lives of people today. We, as a ministry, understand the need for High-Touch, but it is one of those things of which we need to be reminded. We should be High-Touch for all we come in contact with, especially those who are Christ-followers.  It is this category whereby recently I was reminded of several examples of where those who call The Chapel home experienced High-Touch. This is fantastic and how it should be for all. However, I also heard recently the opposite was true in that specific needs were and are not getting met. There are those in our midst who at first pass would give the assumption that they do not need anything, but yet they did and do. High-Touch is a concept that I believe each and every expression of the local church should be strong in, but it is incumbent on each to accomplish. It is not something we should abdicate or leave to the professional, or the gifted. It is up to you and me.  As a result, I felt compelled to write this blog to encourage the people of The Chapel, and other ministries who may read this, to practice being High-Touch, for I believe it is at the heart of who God is.

So, if we are to be High-Touch, how do we do such a thing?  Do we need a special ministry? Do we need a new program? The simple answer is no.  What we need is to be reminded of three simple concepts.

  • Awakened – needs among the saints exists. We need to be reminded of this reality.
  • Awareness – listening and looking for these needs requires proximity and intentionality – one must seek it.
  • Action – we, having now been awakened and aware, need to be ready to take action based upon the Spirit’s direction.

I believe the Scripture verses mentioned earlier in this blog clearly point this out. We are all in proximity to people, many of whom are Christ-followers, which affords us the opportunity to be a blessing to them.  Simply stated, the Christians in our circles of influence should have our fingerprints on them, leaving evidence of God’s grace. When was the last time that was true for you or for me?  This could be and should be a daily happening.

Many who read this might say, they don’t have the time, the money or the wherewithal to do what this person needs given it is so large. This may be true but there are numerous things a person can still do beyond wishing them well. Here are some examples of things every Christian can do to help other Christ-followers:

  • Pray for them and let them know it (text, email, card, or better yet, in person)
  • Spend time with them and really listen to their concerns
  • Listen to what God’s Spirit says to do and then be obedient then and now.
  • Facilitate getting them the help they need – you may not be able to do it but you know somebody who can.
  • Follow-up after the first encounter and ask how it’s turning out, how can you still help, and so forth.
  • Make a commitment that you can keep, and then keep it.

These are but a sampling and relatively simple.  However, they can be powerful in delivering a simple yet profound message that the person in need is not forgotten, that they are not alone, that somebody cares, and that there is hope. It is interesting how even the smallest of things and well-intended gestures give hope.  We should be hope givers to one another for when we do, we are much more inclined and equipped to do the same in return to somebody else. One may question why this blog appears in the Kingdom Come section of our webpage given the audience, if you will, is the individual. However, this concept applies corporately just as easily in that The Chapel, in terms of the Kingdom and its partners, attempts to model the same as we are awakened, aware, and then take action. Surely it is more complex on many fronts but the concept is the same. God expects His people, whether one-on-one or thousands-upon-thousands to show and demonstrate love toward one another. This is a powerful testimony in this world void of such a beautiful thing.  So, in terms of Kingdom Come we try to have our fingerprints on many things thereby leaving evidence of God’s grace. My hope is that Kingdom Come is guilty of being High-Touch as has been described in this blog.  By His goodness, mercy, and provision we will be able to continue to do so all over the world for His glory.  Even still, the expectation on the corporate applies to the individual – you and me.  We, too, get the privilege and honor to do the same with those in our midst who call upon Jesus as their Lord and Savior. 

In summary, it is my hope that this blog exhorts, encourages, and compels many to engage in helping those in our midst who are suffering in silence in that they are Christ-followers who are faithful yet are in need. We, as the Body, need to be looking for people to help them in big ways and in small ways, for when they are strong the Body is much stronger and able to enter God’s mission and to accomplish it more fully.  High-Touch is and always will be required.  May our fingerprints be ever-present as we dispense God’s grace upon His people. Deem us guilty. 

Who [Christ] gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:14)