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Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road

By Timothy J. Keller

Pastor Tim Keller draws from the parable of the Good Samaritan to invite the reader into a deeper understanding of what it means to show Godly mercy to those in need.  Keller points out that as followers of Christ we are called to mercy as a sign of our faith.  By expressing Christ-based mercy we meet the felt needs through our deeds, needs that can be psychological, social, economic, and physical. We are motivated toward mercy only through the experience and understanding of God’s wonderful grace toward us sinners.

Pastor Tim Keller draws from the parable of the Good Samaritan to invite the reader into a deeper understanding of what it means to show Godly mercy to those in need.  Keller points out that as followers of Christ we are called to mercy as a sign of our faith.  By expressing Christ-based mercy we meet the felt needs through our deeds, needs that can be psychological, social, economic, and physical. We are motivated toward mercy only through the experience and understanding of God’s wonderful grace toward us sinners.

Keller addresses some uncomfortable aspects of the ministry of mercy such as balancing a lifestyle of giving – how much do you give and how much do you keep?  He highlights the Scriptural model of meeting the needs of fellow believers and balancing that with the need to meet the needs of the lost as a Gospel witness. Keller also discusses at length the oft debated topic of word and deed – how do we balance out the clear spoken message of salvation in Christ with the clear mandate to love others with our deeds. 

The heart of the book though is the second part.  Keller gives us some clear steps to apply these principles in our churches and communities.  As followers of Christ we must stop, look and listen before acting and caring, beginning with our immediate family and neighbors.  The ministry of mercy is not just for the church but for each individual.  Mercy can be a grassroots movement from individuals and/or a result of intentional teaching and motivation by leadership. Keller gives some guidance on organizing mercy ministry that involves the whole church and utilizes individual gifting. 

Mercifully ministering to those in need is a social endeavor that will bring us face to face with broken relationships, relief, social transformation, and justice.  To be most effective we will need to get involved with our communities, be intentionally public in your community, and build a vision statement before recruiting and training volunteers.  

Christ has called and equipped the church to be a light in a broken world, to love and care for the needy.  Ministries of mercy, while meeting felt needs, also meets the spiritual need we all have of a restored relationship with God our Father. 

“Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road” is a great resource for church leadership, or anyone in the church who feels the call of mercy, to take the next step in involving the whole church in this important work of the Gospel.

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