A proactive plan to care for others assumes that you love people. If you don’t love people, your starting point is repentance. But if you do count others more significant than yourself, here are some helpful thoughts to motivate you to care for them well.
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In Genesis 3:15 we get our first glimpse of the Father’s redemptive plan to restore fallen humanity to Himself. During the early hours of humanity’s fall, God was proactive, making a plan to redeem His broken community.
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. – Genesis 3:15
The “he” and the “his” in this passage is referring to our Savior, Jesus Christ, who meted out the eternal death blow on the head of the serpent (Lucifer) when He came out of the tomb.
He chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him. – Ephesians 1:4
God has always been proactive in how He thinks about, strategizes, and plans for those He loves (John 3:16). You could say that He has been “eternally proactive.”
And from Genesis 3:15, the Father pushed His plan through the Old Testament. I’ll not remind you of the many ups and downs as He persevered through much adversity to bring about what He promised to fallen humanity.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
This text was not the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15, but the continuation of His proactive plan to care for others. The Father planned redemption and implemented His plan.
I want you to see how He was premeditative, proactive, intentional, intrusive, and relentless in transforming people. God’s gospel agenda to help others screams from nearly every page of His Word. It is a loud call to action for His redeemed community to imitate Him in His soul care plans (Ephesians 5:1).
May I ask, do you have a gospel motivation (heart) and agenda (behaviors) when it comes to caring for those within your sphere of influence? I’m not asking if you’re making any progress with them; I’m asking if you care, and from your caring soul comes a practical strategy to help them.
If you have children, how would they characterize your transformative proactivity in their lives? To love God and your neighbor will not happen automatically. You have to think (heart) about them, and you must have a plan (action).
When I think about God’s great love for me and how He planned my redemption, it is more than stunning. It is an example that I want to emulate.
I am still learning how to love others the way God loves me. One of the ways I have been learning this is through proactive planning. People want and need leadership from caring individuals. My wife and my children crave my leadership. They want me to lead.
For example, it does not serve or bless my family when I come home, and they ask me about my plans, and I don’t have any ideas other than “vegetating” on the couch, in front of the television.
God loves me too much to be inactive in my life. He serves me every day, and it’s imperative that I’m like Him in my relationships, starting with my immediate family.
A Proactive Plan
Here is a simple three-step plan that will serve you in your soul care endeavors. It would be great to share these ideas with those you want to lead. What if you talk about them within your small group of friends?
#1 Ask – The most straightforward way for me to understand how to serve my family and friends is by asking them. For example, an important question that I ask my wife is, “How can I most effectively serve you?” If you’re unsure how to help someone, ask them to share with you how you may serve them practically.
#2 Do – Followup your request to serve with actions, based on what they told you. Asking but not following up with works will lead to the death of your relationship. Be a practical daily doer of the Word of God in the lives of those you want God to change.
Each family and group of friends are different. Find the best fit that works for you. The best way to know what works well is to talk about these ideas.
#3 Be – What do you want your family and friends to become? I trust the answer is Christlike, and if that is the case, I appeal to you to imitate Christ for them.
People need to see practical Christlike examples so they can get a vision for being Christ to others. What you don’t want to do is ask someone to be like Jesus, but you refuse to be like Him. Model your message before you instruct others.
Also published on Medium.