Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, “When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?” The king will answer, “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.”
One thing I love about Jesus is he identifies with the poor: the hungry and thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned.
What can make one uneasy is Jesus equates how you treat the poor with how you treat him personally. In other words, when you are good to the poor you are being good to Jesus. When you are being bad to the poor, you are being bad to Jesus, the king of the universe, the Lord of all.
My forthcoming book will discuss Jesus’ scathing woes he pronounces over the religious leaders of his day. He calls them show-offs and blind fools. He says the religious leaders are greedy and selfish withholding food and drink from those who need it most. I believe much of the Church today has turned into these religious leaders.
We’ve lost sight of exactly who we are to be seeking after. Jesus identified himself with the poor time and again in the gospels. He was born poor, lived poor, and died a poor man. The apostle said, “He became poor so that we could become rich…”
Jesus now asks the Church to live like he lived – helping the ministering to the poor. He calls upon us to feed the hungry and thirsty, give shelter to the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned. He promises here that when we do these things we are doing it for him.
Really, if you want to see Jesus, experience Jesus in a way you’ve never have before, seek out the poor. You’ll find him already there ministering in ways you do not know. Imagine what the Church could do to this world if only we’d be his hands and feet.
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“The Son of Man came to look for and to save people who are lost.”
Jesus; Luke 19:10
Jesus had a mission when he came to us 2000 years ago. Most emphasize his death. Others emphasize his resurrection. But, how many emphasize Jesus seeking out the lost?
This will be the focus of my book coming out towards the end of this year. It will be a short book talking about how the Church today has forgotten that we are to seek out the lost in this world and help them towards having a healthy relationship with our heavenly Father.
I will begin in Luke 15 and zoom into the story of the Lost Son. It is my conviction many who find themselves lost are powerless to get themselves found. It takes the searching of the shepherd, the urgency of a woman, and the love of a Father to bring people into a renewed relationship with our Father.
Jesus’ mission on earth was “look for and to save people who are lost.” Jesus then extends that same mission to us, the Church.
We have the concept of preaching and proclaiming the gospel down-pat. The problem is we proclaim this gospel in the safe environment of our church buildings. Jesus says, “go to the people” (Matt. 28:19 CEV). We want to “save people” but we are falling short on the “look for” part of Jesus’ mission.
British missionary Charles Studd said, “Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop, within a yard of hell.” We cannot storm the gates of hell by staying home.
I don’t normally dream. At least I don’t usually remember my dreams. But this dream was so weird I couldn’t help but remember.
I was standing in an elaborate church building similar to ones I’ve seen in movies – large and very ornamental. In the front laid a large creature with a head like a cobra (I blame my recent viewing of Stargate SG-1 for the creature’s looks) and a large body. Some priest was putting the creature together in some fashion and brought it to life. When the creature stood it was twice the size of a man in height. The cobra’s hood spanned 6 feet wide, golden, and was encrusted with jewels.
Once the creature stood the priest led him through the crowds of people announcing his arrival, his awesome power, and the need for everyone to bow before the creature. In my dream I was thinking, “There’s no way any Christian here will bow before this creature.”
My dream ended before my thought could be proved.
This dream reminds me of the golden calves Jeroboam created and placed in Bethel and Dan (1 Kings 12:25-33) The kingdom of Israel was split into two kingdoms after the death of Solomon. Rehoboam ruled Judah to the south and Jeroboam ruled to the north called Israel. The center of Jewish worship was Jerusalem. So the problem for Jeroboam is Jerusalem resided in Judah to the south. He thought the people going there to worship would be persuaded by Rahoboam and turn away from his rule. So he brought worship into Israel. He himself set up idols, golden calves, set up feasts and places of worship. Of the calves he said to Israel, “Behold your gods who brought you out of Egypt.” And Israel fell into idolatry and worshiped the golden calves.
How can a people be so deceived? If Israel can turn away from God so quickly would Christians today be so easily persuaded?
In my dream I was sure no one would bow before this new god created by the priest. However, after thinking about it I am not so sure anymore.
Many go to churches seeking out a god of their own making. If we are convicted in one church we are sure to find a church that will be less convicting. If we are too challenged I am sure we can find one that does not challenge us. If we aren’t “fed” enough or challenged enough in the areas we feel we should be challenged we can find a church to accommodate our itch.
I, along with many others in the Church today, have lost what it means to deny one’s self and bare our crosses.
What about you? Would you bow before a creature that is seemingly all powerful? Able to destroy you?