The Apostle Paul encouraged the Philippians to practice discerning love, and last Sunday we explored how that could be done on a personal level. Discerning love, however, must also be practiced by the church. As a body of believers we must not only discern the bad from the good, but the better from the best.
There are a lot of good things that can be done to make life better for others, and we should obviously seek to do good. There is a danger, however, in getting so involved in doing good, that we forget the church’s primary mission.
A recent article in American Thinker entitled “Surrendering to the Spirit of the Age” addressed the danger of allowing corporal needs to overshadow spiritual needs. “Jesus understood the physical/corporal needs of the people, he fed them, clothed them, healed their illnesses. But was that his mission? No; Jesus did not come to heal bodies of people who would die in this world and be forever out in the cold in the next.”
A similar theme is found in the chapter on the temptations of Christ that we will be looking at this Sunday night in Life of Christ. “The first temptation of Our Blessed Lord was to become a kind of social reformer, and to give bread to the multitudes. There are deeper needs in man than crushed wheat; and there are greater joys than the full stomach. You want Me to be a baker, instead of a Savior; to be a social reformer, instead of a Redeemer. You are tempting Me away from My Cross, suggesting that I be a cheap leader of people, filling their bellies instead of their souls.”
As a church we have long supported the Food Pantry, but it may surprise you to discover that we are hesitant to get involved in an upcoming community effort to fill student backpacks with food for the weekend. We don’t deny that some children would benefit from such a program, but we don’t want to do anything that might encourage parental irresponsibility. We are prayerfully striving to discern the better from the best.
God Bless, Rick