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Archive for the tag “Jesus’ Hands and Feet”

Imitating the Teacher

This week’s theme is compassion. It started with the message on Sunday from the book Believe by Randy Frazee. We visited the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10. I’m sure you recall how the “religious” men passed by the one left for dead, but one man Samaritan man stopped. We could look down on those men who did not stop. We could get self-righteous about how we wouldn’t do such a thing. We might believe we are more like the Samaritan than the religious men. The Samaritan actually did more than required. He took the man an inn; paid for room and board and any essentials the injured man would need in order to heal. He even told the inn keeper he would reimburse him for any extra that the injured man needed when the Samaritan passed that way again.

We could place ourselves in the story as the one who stops, but that’s really not the case. Our place in the story is the one who was beaten and left for dead. We are the ones broken in need of a healer. Jesus is the Samaritan man who stops what He is doing and goes to the one who needs help. Jesus is shown throughout the Gospels as the one who had compassion on the men and women He encountered; He always stopped to help those in need. Many times the Gospel writers would tell of Jesus’ compassion for the one who has stopped Him. The Good Samaritan had mercy on the broken man just as Jesus has mercy on us as broken people.

But right after the Good Samaritan story in Luke 10, we find another story about two sisters; Mary and Martha who invited Jesus into their home. Mary was at the feet of Jesus listening to His every word, which when you think about it, this was not done in those times. Women were not taught like the men. The men gathered around teachers but the women were always in the background. They were like Martha who did the work that needed to be done in order for the teacher and the men to have everything they needed. Martha was playing her part but Mary wasn’t. Mary was in the midst of the men; she was out-of-place. This just wasn’t done in those days, but Jesus changed how men and women related to Him and to others. Jesus turned everything upside down.

Martha pointed out Mary’s place to Jesus, but Jesus pointed out Martha’s place. Martha didn’t know Jesus was turning things upside down. Martha didn’t realize that Jesus was elevating women to a new place in society. However, this isn’t the story of elevating women. This is the story of how we all need to sit at the feet of Jesus. We all need to learn from Him if we are to have compassion for our neighbors. This world is desperate for compassion. Societies will not change unless we show compassion as Jesus did.

I was reminded in my quiet time on Tuesday, in Paul’s letter to the Philippians pointed to Christ serving in humility. Jesus did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant (2:6). Paul wrote to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves (2:3). When we consider compassion, we look at others – not with judgment – but with humility. That could be us in that situation.

The Good Samaritan saw the man on the side of the road recognizing that it could easily have been him in that same situation. Every person walking that particular road could be beaten, robbed and left for dead. The Good Samaritan showed the man mercy by not only taking pity on him, but provided for him in his hour of need. He did for the man what he wanted to be done for him if he too found himself in that situation. Sounds like the “Golden Rule” to me. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is how I learned Matthew 7:12.

Compassion and love are the foundation of how we are to be good neighbors to those we meet on our paths. The religious men who passed by may have sat under great teaching but there were not good doers of the Word they learned. Learning has to be put to good use. There is a time for sitting and a time for doing. We all have a little Mary and Martha in us, but we first need to get the right priorities. Sit first then do. It’s the only way we will feel compassion and love for the people we will encounter today. But also, the beauty of this message is that we are invited into His story. We get to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We can become the Good Samaritan to someone today.

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NLT)

Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher. Luke 6:40 (NLT)

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Usefulness

I like to play golf. When I was a child, my Dad taught me how to play. When I played with my Dad and his buddies, he would brag on me, and I would beam from ear to ear. My Dad no longer plays, but he still enjoys hearing about my round when I see him. It reminds me how God as our Father loves to see us use our talents. I think it honors Him to use what we are given. I believe He also has a sense of humor when we do something funny, and we can laugh at ourselves. I think He smiles when we have good shots and give Him praise when the ball does a miraculous curl into the cup. God is a good Father and loves His children. He wants to do great things through us with all our talents and gifts.

If you’re like me, it’s hard to believe that God could really use me. I don’t have anything that seems to be useful as I see it. Sure, I write. I serve in my church family. But what is the work that God has designed me to do in this time? I struggle with that concept. I know one of my gifts is helping. I have been a great helper throughout my life. I was my Dad’s helper during those early years. When I was in college, I was the women’s basketball coach’s right hand. I have had many jobs throughout my career where I was the boss’ go to person to get the job done. I have been in training for God’s great task all my life – if it’s a help related kind of thing. But that doesn’t seem like much. It doesn’t take much effort on my part to do something that comes so natural to me – like golf. It’s second nature. Shouldn’t this great task be harder than my own effort?

Maybe it’s not the task itself that will be the greatest challenge, but the effort to be obedient to it when the time comes. It will probably be out of my comfort zone, and I may have to be in a hard place to do what I’m called to do. It will be a willingness to do what God asks me to do. It will cost me something. I will have to make some sort of sacrifice on my part. It will challenge my abilities to stay focused during those hard times. And it will take a humble attitude to do it in a manner worthy of God’s glory. But in the end, it will all be worth it. I want to be useful for God. I have said many times, the answer is yes even before I know the question. But when the time comes, will my answer truly be yes?

The gifting the Holy Spirit gives us is not for our own benefit. Our gifting is to be used for others – for the brothers and sisters in Christ as well as those outside the family of God. God kept giving me the same message over the last couple of days – get busy. God wants His people ready for service. God has given us this hour to live for His glory. It’s all going to come together; the time, the place, and the people coming together to be the hands and feet of Jesus. He has chosen us for His team. We may not get any reward here on earth for what God calls us to. It’s only when we get home to heaven that the rewards will be given. We have to be patient in our works for Jesus.

The works do not save us but give us the opportunity to be like Jesus to someone here on earth. Jesus said He came to serve not to be served. The mentality of the church people has to change. We are not to be consumers of the word without any deeds. James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote in his letter that faith without works is dead (James 2:26). It’s a dead religion. It serves no purpose. God will use us when we have our hearts surrender to His will and His purpose. With the right heart attitude, all the glory goes to God. And it will truly please Him when He sees us doing the work He calls us to. It’s time to get busy for time is growing short, and the day is almost done.

If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face. Romans 12:6-8 (The Message)

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