Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:10 NIV)
You’ve probably experienced it too. Tearing open the wrapping paper, opening up the box, and there you have it… a WATCH!!! Maybe that doesn’t excite you. Some people like watches, some don’t… but that’s not the point here. It’s in what happens next!
You stare at this watch face that seems frozen in time. Hands ready to fulfill their purpose. Gears tucked inside that you cannot see that are just waiting to interlock and command these two small pieces of metal to circulate in such a specific way that for years to come the bearer of this watch will always know what time it is… except for one problem. You haven’t pulled off the plastic thingy. You know… the plastic thingy that keeps the battery from draining before you open it.
And that my friend, is how little you need to stop the flow of its power. And likewise, it only takes the smallest of barriers to bring one’s purpose and ability to accomplish so much to a grinding halt. Simply place something in the way of connecting with others and with God and voila… you are now stuck in time… just like that watch.
Every day is flooded with opportunities. Opportunities to do nothing. Opportunities to do something. Paul says here that we should take these opportunities that God has given us to ‘connect’ with those around us. Remove the plastic thingies in your life that keep you from connecting with others and do something good for those around you. Make their lives better.
I think you’ll be surprised to find out that as you make their lives better, you’ll end up making your life better as well. For you’ll notice that once you start connecting with others around you and touching their lives, you’ll find out that it was all part of God’s plan from the beginning… all you needed to do was pull off the plastic thingy.
At least that’s how I see it,
‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:22-24 NIV)
We all seem to love a great story where someone who used to profess to be a Christian comes back to church, turns their life around and gets their relationship with God back on track. Those are easy to cheer and applaud. We love these events because we get to see the redeeming Love of God in action right in front of our eyes; His Grace Unfolding.
But at what expense are we willing to participate in this Parade of Pardon? How much are ‘we’ willing to put on the line so that we get to watch the Mercy of God embrace those who were / are hurting, broken, and empty?
I ask that because when we look at this analogy that Jesus used (also called a parable), the father had two sons and divided the inheritance between them (to which the one son squandered it all away)… So you guessed it; all of the stuff the father used to celebrate the son’s homecoming… came from the other son’s inheritance! That was ‘his’ stuff!!!
The moment we think that what God has given us is for our sole benefit, we’ve lost the point of blessing. Inheritances are not earned, they are given. All that we inherit from the Father is not so that our lives can be now cushy and awesome, but that rather we have the resources available so that when the sons and daughters come back in distress to the Father we are ready and able to lead them back into a family who cares, accepts, and loves them.
The other son missed out on the party because he was having his own party… a pity party. May we always be out in the fields working our ‘inheritance’ with one eye on the work needing to still be done and the other scanning for the Father’s signal for us to come celebrate that another child has finally come Home.
At least that’s how I see it,
I am the Lord All-Powerful, and I challenge you to put me to the test. Bring the entire ten percent into the storehouse, so there will be food in my house. Then I will open the windows of heaven and flood you with blessing after blessing. (Malachi 3:10 CEV)
You know the childhood saying as you intertwine your fingers… “Here is the church, here is the steeple… Open it up and see all the stains from the PBJ sandwich your mom made you for lunch.” Well… it goes something like that anyway.
Well you guessed it… you’re right. It’s about the people (not the stains… though some are quick to point out the coffee stains on the carpet). Church… is about the people. Not the decor (because that changes). Not the style of service (for that will change too). But church is about… the people. The people inside of the church… AND the people outside of the church that have yet to hear about the love and grace of a Saviour who died and rose again to give us life (ok… now I’m moving into “next week’s” thoughts).
So when we give to the ‘church’, we’re really giving to God in order to reach the ‘people’; the resources, the ministries, and all of the things that are necessary to make sure that the ‘people’ (whether here… or not here yet) are being ministered to.
So conversely when we “don’t” give, we therefore are really “not” giving to God in order to “not” reach the people. When we choose not to give it’s kind of like we’re saying to God, “Thanks for taking care of me and all that people sacrificed in order for You to reach me. But I’m good with being the end of the road. You don’t have to keep reaching people now.”
Maybe that seems a little harsh. Maybe it seems a little extreme. But maybe the fact that God calls us to support the work of the Kingdom IS extreme. Maybe, just maybe, the same God who created everything in the universe from simply His limitless wonder gave us the opportunity to partner with Him in doing something new again… that because of what ‘we’ give Him, He then can change ‘other’ people’s lives… just like He changed ours.
At least that’s how I see it,