Do you remember our passage from Matthew?
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Matthew 25:34-40 NKJV)
Here we go! Our first opportunity in this passage: I was hungry and you gave me food. Ok let’s face it most of us don’t know what it is like to be hungry. In our house, it would be extremely rare to go to the fridge and not find food for several meals- not to mention the freezer or pantry where we could most likely feed a small army for a month. This makes it easy to forget how many go hungry. According to Feeding America, one in six Americans does not have enough to eat 1 in 6! I!f you break that down to just children it is one in five. Take a look at your hand, if your fingers were children one of them would be going hungry. That is just in America! The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said in 2010 “925 million people do not have enough to eat — more than the populations of USA, Canada and the European Union combined.” That is truly more than my wee brain can comprehend. So here is your challenge this week – become involved some way in satisfying our worldwide hunger issue. Remember as much as we possibly can, let’s make this a Going Opportunity. Need some ideas? How about working at a local soup kitchen or packing meals for Feed My Starving Children. Maybe, take it to the next level and ask around and find out who are friends of your friends that are struggling financially and take them a bag of food. If you attend Edinbrook Church, look up Ken Dean and go out with him to feed people right in our city that need a good meal. At the very least, if you cannot make it a going opportunity make it a sending opportunity, go buy a big bag of groceries and take it to your local food shelf or make a contribution to Converge Worldwide’s world relief Sunday.
If you want to make a wider application, think of the people that you encounter each day that are starving spiritually, how can you reach out and touch their lives? What can you do to feed them?
Now GO! Come back and tell us what you did and the impact it made!
Over the next 6 weeks I want to take a close look at what Jesus left us with in Mathew 25:34-40. Hopefully I can present us with a challenge to carry out each week as we look at the passage that has been called “The Great Compassion.” To help you understand how large of a challenge this is for me we need to step back a few months to the MAC (Missionary Assessment Center) that we attended in January. In preparation for this Converge Worldwide had us prepare several personal assessments to be reviewed while at the MAC. A couple of the areas that we were evaluated on were Compassion and Empathy. On a scale of 1 to 100 in the category of empathy my wonderful wife scored 100 I did not do so well I scored a 0. I think that I have always had that “Walk it off” attitude, I know that my kids have loved that. Dad, I think I sprained my ankle, me – walk it off. Dad, I have diarrhea, me – walk it off. But I digress, I score slightly better in the Compassion area but still needing improvement. So that brings us to our passage in Mathew and my attempt to put feet to Jesus words. So, your assignment this week is to simply read this passage and come back next week for our journey together in Compassion applied. Each week we will take one of the opportunities that Jesus has laid out for us and apply it. We will find that some of these opportunities are what I will call “going” opportunities and some will be “sending” opportunities. Sometimes it is easier to just make everyone a sending opportunity, my challenge is to make everyone that you can a GOING OPPORTUNITY!
Matthew 25:34-40 NKJV
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
Do you feel the love that is communicated through this passage?
One more thing, as you apply the opportunity each week come back and make a comment on the blog, I would love to hear what you experienced.
Get ready to be blessed!
You stay the same through the ages, your love never changes! There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning. These words rang out on Saturday night as we experienced the Newsboys “Roaring like a Lion Tour” Concert. There were a few things I learned that night. I’d like to share a couple with you if I may.
I learned that apparantly we are too old to go to concerts. In the midst of music so loud our ribcages were vibrating, my sweet husband fell asleep! Who does that? Who can do that! He did, he has been so busy with work, home, support raising, that when he sat down he fell asleep!
I also learned that age is such a strange thing! God never changes, he has been the same through the ages. But we need to change, grow, mature. But are we? Can we? How do we do that? The only way we can grow closer to God, know His will for us, His plans for our futures is to communicate with Him. Taking time to listen to Him. Hear from His Word what He has for US.
I have always had a hard time with this. In my life and thought process “I need to work, to do things”, in order to please Him. Well, I have this wonderful friend, Sherrill, she has the gift of “just being”. When you are with her you feel like you are the only other person in the world. Teenagers can be setting trashcans on fire, car bombs can be going off in the parking lot, and pre-schoolers can be running amuck with sharp objects, and what is Sherrill doing? She is actively engaged, listening, loving, praying, making that person feel that they are the only person that matters in the whole world. Whereas, I would have to take the matches from the teenagers, call the police for the firebombs, and talk the pre-schoolers down-where is Sherrill? She is sitting in the middle of this totally focused on the moment and the person she is engaged with!
I know God has made me very different from Sherrill, but I pray so often that He can help me be a little bit like her in the way that I don’t have to be constantly “doing”, that I can take time to quiet my mind and heart and truly HEAR from Him, and share that with His people.
So what is my point for today? (besides the fact that I may need medication for ADD?) We need to do sometimes, but we also need to BE!
Yesterday I had the opportunity to have lunch with a great friend again. Ivan Veldhuizen was in town for some Converge “Business” and he took a little break for a lunch at Five Guys. My birthday is the 11th and Ivans is the 19th so it has become a tradition that we go out for lunch sometime in November to celebrate and catch up. Ivan likes to remind me that my birthday is earlier in the month so I get older sooner however, I always remind him that the was born almost 2 years before me so I will never catch him. At any rate, we talked about a lot of things but I could not help but think how much has changed in the last year. It was November 6th of 2011 that Ivan first asked if we would be willing to go to Nigeria. If you go back and read earlier blog posts you will remember that Tina and I felt that we were being prepared for some other ministry and were looking for where God’s next place for us was. From the moment that Ivan asked me I knew that this was the direction that God was asking us to go. We received a ton of support from family and friends and you know the rest of the story.
But what I want to talk about today is the constant journey of: Trust & Obey. There was a little chorus that we sang when I was growing up, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey!” But is it really that simple in life? The short answer is yes, it is that simple, but no it is not that easy. It ought to be, but it’s not. It appears that it wasn’t that easy for Abraham either. Abraham’s life was full of twists and turns. He had to trust God at every point on his life journey. Sometimes he did and sometimes he didn’t When he did, things went well for him. When he didn’t there was always a price to pay. I’m convinced that it’s the same for us. The last year has not been easy. I get frustrated with how long things take and I want to “forge forward”, “grab the bull by the horns”, need I go on? But then God reminds me that He knows the proper time, He knows where our support is coming from, HE KNOWS… all I am required to do is Trust and Obey. See how simple it is? Just like Abraham, we are on this earth in relationship with God, looking forward to eternity with Him. Just like Abraham, there are times in our lives, when we will want to grab the reigns and direct just a little bit when it gets scary or uncertain. The question becomes, as it was for Abraham, will we trust and obey or not?
As the writer of Hebrews looks back on Abraham he says: By faith Abraham obeyed, when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that had foundations, whose designer and builder is God. —Hebrews 11:8-10
So as Tina always end her posts, my point for the day is: Let’s answer the call to walk in faith and in relationship as we “trust and obey!”