I love the passage Jesus read in Luke 4, when He stood up in the synagogue in His hometown. These verses from Isaiah 61 give a capsule of how we can respond to the people we encounter in our lives:
bring good news to the poor
*those who don’t have what they need to live the full life God wants to give us, [the life Jesus talks about in John 10]
comfort the broken-hearted
those who had something and lost it [dreams, relationships, peace]
announce release and freedom for the captives and prisoners
those actually taken away from the sheep pen, like the sheep stolen by the thief/wolf in John 10
It’s helpful for me to think about people in those different categories. I’m also challenged that God anoints so I can proclaim what He does,rather than have me try to save the world myself. As His messenger, I share good news with the poor. I announce freedom to those who are bound. I tell people God will restore what has been lost.
However, one ‘action’ I can do is to comfort people. Another action is to give them a crown of beauty, oil of gladness, and a spirit of praise. It seems to me that happens when I affirm someone, and share the joy of who God is and what He has done for me and others. I know how encouraged I am when someone points out something good in me or praises me for what I’ve done, or reminds me of God’s grace. It brightens me. It brightens my entire day. No wonder then that the result of all this is: “”They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” [Isaiah 61:3b]
The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me
because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of His grace—
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.
Isaiah 61:1-3 The Message
Who will you announce freedom to this week?
Who will you give a verbal bouquet of roses?
Who will you share a message of joy with?
[edited from the archives]