Loving the lowly

God has Glenn and I on an amazing journey towards loving the poor, lowly and broken hearted. It is a journey of dying to one’s self, gaining Christ’s compassion through trials and frustration, learning patience and humility, laying down preconceived ideas of ministry style and culture . . . and many other humbling lessons!

Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. (Galatians 2:10)

I love where God is taking us, but I must admit it is not always a comfortable journey. God constantly demands more of us – not in busyness, but pride, thought, heart, intention, finance, and inner motives. He calls us to sacrifice our own desires and dreams, laying them at the foot of the cross. Even as we do so, we pick up His desires and walk more and more into His purposes. We gain His heart. And what is His heart? Obviously, salvation of all people. But we also see in the Word – both in the New Testament and in the Old Testament – that His heart is for the poor and lowly. 

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:17-18).

I can’t say I have “arrived”. I know this journey will be life long. I don’t have much to give this blog other than to challenge you to join me. I challenge you to completely surrender to God, one small step at a time.

What is out of your comfort zone in His call to love and serve the poor? Is it helping at a food shelter, talking to a homeless man, inviting a foster child into your home, moving to a poorer area to live and serve your neighbours?

Sewing ministry of Shalack

God calls us to love that knows no bounds.

There are those who argue that grace requires no works. They are correct in the truth that ONLY grace is needed for our salvation. They are incorrect when it comes to the “working out” of our salvation. The Holy Spirit is the seal of our salvation (1 Cor 1:21-22), and so, if we have the Spirit within us, we are going to keep in step with the Spirit!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Gal 5:22-23).

Jesus, Himself, gave us the commandment to LOVE – love God and love others (Mark 12:30-31). Love is not an emotion, but a challenging accumulation of traits – just read through 1 Corinthians 13 if you don’t believe me!

So let us learn how to love in truth and deed. Let us learn to love without bounds. Let us call out to the Father, asking Him to give us a love that crosses culture, social status, age, nationality . . .

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

Sewing ministry of Shalack_learning straight stitch making bunting

Advertisements

Eternity in the (extended) Family

In follow on from writing about what my bosses are doing through Operation Christmas Child, I heard another story this week of love in action. I had one of those “Aha! Yes, that’s it!” moments when hearing the story, seeing how easy it is to make a very big difference in the life of another. It is too inspiring not to share with you.

A friend of my mother’s told of how she gives to those she comes across who are in need. Her son is a skater and is often found down at the local skate park. There he has met a range of people and a few of them are in great need. My mother’s friend heard some of the boys’ stories through her son. One of the regular skaters has one parent in prison and the other is an alcoholic; he is alone in the world.

It is easy to hear such stories and say “what a shame” or “that poor boy”. Not this lady! She was moved to action.

“Is not this the fast that I choose:  . . . Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (Isaiah 58:6-7)

Clothe the poor

The boy, who is without parent figures in his life to mentor him, has now been taken shopping by her on several occasions where she bought him new shoes, clothes and food. She also occasionally has him over to stay the night. Through these small actions he is learning of the love, protection and care that a parent ought to give.

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:12-14)

Banquet

What a wonderful example of practically loving those in need and offering a mother’s love to one without. This example is such a small act of kindness, yet it will have a lasting impact on that young man’s life.

We run into young people who are in need every day. It is not only orphans who are without ‘parents’. Can you stop to help one of them?

You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. (Exodus 22:22)

Older women likewise are to be … They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women … Likewise, urge the younger men … (Titus 2:3-6)

Remember

On Friday night a group of us went to see Les Miserables (it has only just come out in South Africa). It’s a musical/ book/ film I often hear the name of, but had not previously seen. I thoroughly enjoyed it, finding it tense and yet with humourous moments interspersed throughout the story line. But I wasn’t able to fully enter into the story. Usually this would disappoint me and I would feel as if I had lost out on some of the atmosphere. This time, however, I found that it intensified the already highly-charged emotions the movie stirred within me.

Sitting in that theatre, watching a film depicting the struggles and hopes of the lowest class of society during the French Revolution, my mind kept taking me to the faces of the children in the DRC and to the faces of my friends in the DRC. It saddened me that there are still so many people world-wide who live desperate, broken, hopeless lives. And it challenged me to consider what I am going to do about it.

We have daily choices to make regarding whether we will ignore the plight of others that we see around us or whether we will take a small step to help. I will be teaching the book of Leviticus in a couple of weeks and as I study I am overwhelmed by the community responsibility that God was trying to create amongst His people. Neighbours were to care for neighbours, brothers were to protect brothers, and everybody knew everybody else’s business. There was no divorcing oneself from the wider needs of the community.

Perhaps you are already involved in outreaches. Perhaps you are already in ministry. But if not, perhaps you can consider who and how you can love your neighbour this year. Whether through prayer, time, finances, teaching, friendship . . . reach out to others this year. Reach out to one helpless person or one friendless neighbour.

Gal 2:10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. 

Reaching out