Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Walking It and Not Just Talking It

James 1:27
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

My sister may be walking to her home from work this winter in inclement weather. But, should this be?

I have had my fill of fake Christianity, acting “Christian” on the outside—but filled with synthetic filler on the inside. Don’t tell me “You love ‘me’ with the love of the Lord” while you watch ‘me’ drown as ‘I’ extend ‘my’ hand out to you for help. Don’t try to impress ‘me’ with how ‘you’ can quote scripture, and who invited you to speak at their church when in ‘my’ darkest trials ‘I’ become a contagion to you. Don’t try to sale your wares to ‘me’ because you are a card carrying apostle more twisted than a pretzel as you pimp your manufactured anointings. You teach Sunday school to the people and last year you got a free toaster for your efforts. The toaster signifies how you done your part so you have met your “Christian quota”. Relax… ‘you’ look and smell good…and no one notices that flies are carefully considering ‘you’.

How many people look down upon the poor while helping them? Will they get five stars for good behavior as opposed to four? Will they get an extra room in their heavenly mansion for helping Mr. Nomad on the street while they secretly call him a bum before they even know his name or his story? Will they have to move because a black or Hispanic family bought a house next door to them? Will they pray "Lord help us find a house so…well You know...its time to move..."

James 1:22-24
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

My sister lives in a fair size city (around 600,000 population) —but it lacks adequate bus transportation—it is way behind the times for a metropolitan area. She also lives 4 MINUTES by car from her work place, but 30 MINUTES by foot. Her neighborhood is a working class neighborhood, but not far from her house is an area infested with high crime. She has to walk strategically, not to mention a creek further prevents any shortcuts. She works for a “Christian company”, filled with “Christian workers”. She has no car, so at times these “Christian people” pick her up and bring her home. Her eyesight is not so good and this has been a real problem for her in driving. And she always recompenses their cost in gas above their actual expenditure.

However, at times no one sees to it she has a ride home—to her house FOUR MINUTES AWAY by car from the office. Nor do they inform her if someone decides not to bring her home--they leave without telling her, so she sits at her desk unsure and waiting for them. They are inconvenienced. After all, what would such lost time bring? Besides, if they pick her up, who will see or notice? Are there any cameras rolling? Will there be accolades for good behavior or their name listed in the church bulletin? Will there be time to create croĆ»tons for dinner if they bring her home or what about losing a few minutes watching ESPN? Are these not more important than her making it home safely? Besides, she had two major operations and spent a month gravely ill in the hospital this past year, do she not need exercise? Maybe it's more than a question of who's responsibility is it.

We want a convenient Christianity. Yet sometimes it’s in the small and not so glamorous things. When no one sees but God. And there is no expectation of reward for it’s done from the heart. (I am not saying works justifies us, only Jesus can do that).

Maybe “missions” is not just in a far away country. Could it be something as simple as helping a neighbor out with a few things? Bringing someone to get groceries who has no car? Telling someone you cannot help them specifically with something, but that you do indeed care about their plight. Investing a few minutes a day to help a co-worker to and from work. As the Church we are not confined to a building of religious services and organized events. We should also be doing His will in one on one encounters, and not just putting on appearances in front of others. Yet thank our Lord Jesus Christ for those who do “walk their talk” and demonstrate true compassion.

1 John 3:16-17
16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?