Series: Other Speakers; Caring
Sun am 15 May 2011 – Sam Festus
John 3:17; Mark 10:42-45; Gal. 5:14; John 13:34-35; Gal. 6:7-10; Luke 6:27-38; 1 John 3:16; Col. 3:12-16 (all taken from the GOD’S WORD Translation)
We must never forget that our progress is as fast as the weakest person among us. The sooner we can take our brother or sister by the hand and make sure they’re okay, the sooner we will move on. Jesus told the story of the 100 sheep and the 99 that made it home, but there was one who was not there. What did the shepherd do? He went back to get the lost sheep. If it is God’s intention to make sure that everyone gets in, shouldn’t that be our intention? In John 3:17 it says that no one should be lost. That’s God’s plan. We’re not just in this for ourselves; it is about caring for one another. We should all consider our ways in this regard.
It’s always about what I can get out of this – ‘me and my immediate family.’ Those are good and legitimate reasons, but it goes against the notion of our being a corporate body. My thinking should ideally be, ‘How does this benefit the Body?’ That includes every brother and sister in Christ. Because of the orphan mentality, I am only thinking about myself. When I am concerned only about myself. If we don’t care about each other, we are pretty much like the rest of the world, because that is how they operate.
There’s an important attitude God wants us to have, and that is to serve rather than be served (Mark 10:42-45). When we realize that we are here to serve one another, we realize it’s not about how much we have; it’s not about our status in life; it’s not about what we own; it’s not about how much we can give – but it’s about our attitude of serving. You may not be great in the kingdom of man, but in God’s kingdom you will be great.
To the extent that we love one another in the Body here, to that extent we can love our neighbour out there. The standard is ‘as Christ has loved me.’ And what did Christ do for us? He laid His life down. It is to that extent that Christ expects us to serve our brothers and our sisters. That is not going to happen in our own strength; we have to allow the Holy Spirit to work through us to be able to give that love and that caring, to share ourselves with each other. Because of our orphan mentality we always think about ourselves. We have good reasons for not helping our brothers and our sisters; but we have no choice in the matter.
When the Church is operating as it should, and there is caring and real love, what will happen to the world out there? They will know! Love has a wonderful ability to glow. Love is attractive. When the Church starts producing the caring, sharing love in the house, the world will see the attractiveness of it and will want to be part of it. It’s not about talking love, but it’s about where my actions say, ‘I love you’ to the point that I don’t have to say it because you know I love you by what I do. That’s the way God wants us to be. Actions speak much louder than words. Allow Christ to do the work through you. The self-generated love does not last; it has to be Christ that flows through you.
What we sow we will reap. If you want somebody to take care of you, you need to be a person who takes care of others – because you will reap what you sow. We cannot meet the need of every brother or sister, but we are to care for that brother or sister. In most instances, all one needs is that someone will listen to them. Your brother or sister won’t always tell you what the problem is; but if you have a close relationship with the Holy Spirit, He will guide you to the brother or sister who needs help – and you must respond when the Holy Spirit prompts you.
‘But I tell everyone who is listening: Love your enemies. Be kind to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who insult you. If someone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other cheek as well. If someone takes your coat, don’t stop him from taking your shirt. Give to everyone who asks you for something. If someone takes what is yours, don’t insist on getting it back. Do for other people everything you want them to do for you. If you love those who love you, do you deserve any thanks for that? Even sinners love those who love them. If you help those who help you, do you deserve any thanks for that? Sinners do that too. If you lend anything to those from whom you expect to get something back, do you deserve any thanks for that? Sinners also lend to sinners to get back what they lend. Rather, love your enemies, help them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then you will have a great reward. You will be the children of the Most High God. After all, he is kind to unthankful and evil people. Be merciful as your Father is merciful. Stop judging, and you will never be judged. Stop condemning, and you will never be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. A large quantity, pressed together, shaken down, and running over will be put into your pocket. The standards you use for others will be applied to you’ (Luke 6:27-38). This says what God is saying this morning. Whatever standard you set is the standard you will be judged against. Whatever you sew, you will reap. Stop judging, stop condemning; forgive easily.
It is by our actions that we know we are living in the truth (1 John 3:16-19). The problem with us Christians is that we talk far too much and we don’t do enough. God is calling us to consider our ways. When you are going through a dip, don’t run away. Communicate. Home fellowship is the best place where this communication can take place. It’s difficult to know what’s happening in everybody’s life. Don’t be too proud to say you’re in trouble. In our communication, there has be a level of honesty because it helps to solve the problem.
We really need to ask ourselves – am I really living the Word? Do I have the heart of a servant? Am I really serving? And not just serving the greater picture, the greater vision – am I serving my brother and sister in Christ?
We must love one another as Christ has loved us. Our place is to love, to share, to care.