Lately my study has been focused on the poor and unity in the Church. In my last post (see “Haiti: What is Our Response?”), I talked about what our response to those in need should be. I want to continue on that topic today as it is so prevalent in Scripture, and so ignored in our modern society.
Let me first speak of unity among the body of believers in Jesus Christ. When we choose to follow Christ, our lives are forever changed. His priorities become our priorities. We love the way He loves. We treat others the way He does. At least this is what should happen. Many of us accept the gift of Christ, pledge to follow Him and we never hear from them again. Others begin to follow Christ and do well until they join a church. Within the walls of the church building they become disillusioned by the infighting, jealousy, greed and apathy. Still others find that their fellow members do not hold exactly to their own beliefs. More infighting breaks out. Along the way, the call to follow Jesus becomes nothing more than some words on a projector screen.
We are not called to this; we are called to be gentle, humble and patient with one another. We’re called to accept everyone with love. We’re called to be unified with peace (Ephesians 4:1-4). We let our petty arguments get in the way of our calling. We are called to the hope of Jesus Christ. What exactly is that hope? That all people would experience the love and grace of God in their lives; this is the hope to which we were called. We cannot take the hope of Jesus to the world as long as we are wasting time fighting one another. As we fail to take the message of hope to the world, the world remains starving and in need.
If we would but put aside our petty jealousies and disagreements we could actually begin to make changes on this planet. If God can use a single individual to effect great change, how much more a hundred individuals or even a thousand! My first plea is to decide right now to strive for unity with everyone you meet, particularly with your brothers and sisters in Christ. We need each other to work for the common goal of living a life that looks like Jesus.
Once unified (or alone if others simply refuse to come together), our mission is simple: give the love of Jesus to everyone we meet; feed the hungry, care for the elderly, house the homeless and take in the orphans. To this we were called, and to this alone. Are you willing to give up everything you have, everything you are, for the simple reason of giving it all to those in need? The poor are all around us, down the street, across town and all over the world; probably even in the pew next to you. What if we, as a church with one purpose, decided to get mad enough to do something about poverty? What if we gave more than one Saturday a month and more than what we could afford to give? What might be accomplished through our unity for the good of the Kingdom? My second plea is to do all you can to serve the poor.
If we love Jesus, we will do what He says (John 14:15). Do you love Him? Are you truly a follower, one who has committed all to follow Him? Are you holding back, concerned about doing it your way, or maybe wounded by the words of others? We have a limited number of breaths on this earth. How many more will you spend not caring for the poor and others in need? We, as followers of Christ must put everything aside and serve in unity. It is our duty to serve the poor. Let’s come together and make a real and lasting difference in the lives of those in need. We are the called; are you with me?