I think I said something Sunday morning that bears repeating. Actually, I hope the whole sermon bears repeating, but there was one part that I believe needs to be clearly heard as the church considers the appropriate response to the devastation caused by the recent hurricanes.
While addressing the need to put love into practice, I pointed out that we are the channel through whom Christ’s love is to flow into a world that desperately needs it. However, I also noted that we must not allow the world to pressure us into showing love as it thinks we should.
Jesus was often moved to compassion when faced with a specific need, and He did meet some physical needs. But He didn’t let the physical needs of the society in which He lived side-track Him from the real reason He came to earth. Likewise, the church must never forget the primary commission it has been given. It must not get so caught up in doing good that it forgets the unique role it has been commissioned to play in the world. There are a lot of needs in the world, and many of those needs can be met by individuals, or organizations, or governmental agencies. But only the church can meet eternal needs.
Now James does warn us not to tell a brother or sister without clothing or in need of daily food, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled”, and not give them what is necessary for their body. But sharing God’s love with others must go far beyond providing physical help.
The church is the primary channel through which God’s ultimate expression of love is to flow into the world today. And, as Peter made clear, if we fail to do what we have been called and commissioned to do, we prove ourselves to be useless and unfruitful in our knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
May each of us carefully and prayerfully consider how to best respond to the overwhelming needs that exist in the world. And may we never be critical of a brother or sister who feels led to do something we don’t feel led to do, or who doesn’t feel the need to do what we do.
God Bless, Rick