A reoccurring thought keeps coming to my consciousness, do we love people the way Christ taught? Do we love people like God does? I fear we don’t.
If we look objectively at our local church out reach and our global mission out reach I believe we will find the following to be true.
We tend to love only those we think we can add to our particular brand of Christianity, and get credit for doing so.
Quite an indictment huh? Is it fair? I believe so. Please notice I said “we”, I must include myself to my shame.
What do we do as a Christian community to feed the hungry, with no strings attached? In the context of the churches of Christ, why is it true that our benevolence is mostly received by other church of Christ people? (The same is true of other church groups)
Even some of our evangelistic efforts are done under the guise of wanting to “help” the people. The truth is we wouldn’t give them a second look if we knew we had no chance of eventually baptising them.
I think what Jesus had in mind, even the radical idea of loving our enemies, was to put our love in shoe leather with no hidden agenda.
I recently got an object lesson in how to love from a group of Catholic high school boys from Manhattan, NY. The Xavier school, of Jesuit Catholics, were on their third trip to Bayou La Batre to help a small group of church of Christ people reach out to their community. There were about twenty boys with three teachers and an administrator. Each had raised his own support for the trip and they each paid $30 per day to the Hemley Rd church for food and lodging, such as it is. (No heat or air conditioning). And, they provided the money for building materials and brought a contractor with them on loan from Habitat for Humanity. They worked very hard for a week repairing homes.
Some of these boys have been back on their own, at their own expense three or four times. Their only motive is to help the hurting, to love people like Jesus taught.
While I don’t agree with their theology, I fully agree with the way they love in Jesus stead as they understand his teachings.
There have been several other groups who are not church of Christ people, who have come and given themselves to the people of the Bayou in remarkable ways whose only apparent motive was to serve others.
Let’s see….when was the last time I volunteered my time to help a Catholic relief effort or even less threatening, when did I volunteer at a local soup kitchen or work on a house with Habitat for Humanity?
Perhaps I still have some “Crazy Love” paragraphs bouncing around in my brain after reading Francis Chan’s challenging book. Whatever the reason I am not too happy with the way I love others or the way my people do.
Conditional love? I don’t think so…
What an astonishingly honest and soul-searching post! Really beautiful…so many of us “talk the talk” about loving as Jesus/Yeshua asked us to do, yet it’s so easy to set up “conditions” and find convenient rationalizations for doing so. (And, not being a Christian myself, I’m nevertheless not breaking that down into “religious” categories–I think that most, if not all, of us are “guilty” of that, regardless of our beliefs. What an amazing place–a “heaven”, if you will–we would have right here around us and now, if we could all find it within ourselves to love with no “strings attached”, as Yeshua did, and as God does.
Thanks for the wonderful post!
I learn much from you. May God continue to bless and use you.
Good stuff Royce! Thank you.
And thank you for coming by and commenting.
I grew up around this ministry: http://www.rivercityministry.org/ (click ‘about’ on the page to learn more)
I think every city should have a ministry like that one – I can’t tell you how much spending time with the urban homeless and poor, seeing church members minister to crack addicts and prostitutes – shaped who I am in my faith today.
WOW. God is good. God uses those who are willing to follow his lead, regardless of religious affiliation. What a great post. Thank you. You made my day a little bit brighter and hopeful.
David Lipscomb entered the homes of African Americans sick with the fever and drove Catholic nuns in his buggy when most of the Christians had left town in fear of the plague. It is a shame that our theology–badly learned and often projected onto some of our undeserving forefathers–has hindered sharing kingdom work with other believers.
What a guy for Jesus! A far cry from the rank and file coC guy of today.
Too often we do works of ministry looking for the “payoff,” not realizing the “payoff” is the privilege of doing works of ministry. Good post.