A few weeks ago I attended a ministry event which was filled with a few men but mostly women all seeking the same thing. What was it you ask? It was God.
For 3 days I was surrounded with other brothers and sisters in the Lord all wanting to grow in their relationship with Jesus. We worshiped the same King. We sat in workshops that held other leaders whom humbly shared their experiences and wisdom they have received along the way. They poured out their hearts to help all who attended. I was inspired, refreshed, encouraged, challenged, puzzled and the list of emotions could continue. But what I was most amazed at was the diversity of all the leaders and regardless of the fact that we "classify/seperate" people, God has called them and most importantly He loves them. I marveled...some were tall, short, heavy, thin, white, black, hispanic, young, aged and so on. I was beautifully reminded that I serve a God who likes variety! Let's face it, how boring would the world be if we were all the same? Thank You Jesus this is not the case.
The leaders whether they stated it or not, all had something they were dealing with. Something God was working on. They all had a past and like myself, are sinners in need of God and God alone. Let this serve as a reminder, God shows NO favoritism. (Romans 2:11) That's including people who are not in Christ. Yes you read that correct. People who have not made Jesus their Lord and Savior. AND STILL God's love doesn't change. The work He did on the cross was for ALL and once for ALL.
As a Christian we are called to love and to love everyone. No exceptions. Jesus commanded it, He said "A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34) But yet we as Christians limit our love for people. This past week alone I have witnessed several times when another sister in the Lord has rejected someone. Someone that God loves! Please hear me...I am not writing this to point fingers. I have been guilty of this very thing. But I can honestly say each time I witnessed this my heart broke. The other night I finally broke down and wept. I wept for these sisters. I wept for the unloved. The lost. I wept for God to give me the opportunities to be compassionate like Him...the One who was moved with compassion toward the crowd when He miraculously fed the 5,000. (Matthew 14:14)
After I dried my eyes I started thinking about how we are told in Matthew 5:14 that we are the "light of the world." Not just light within our church or within our homes. Light of this world. Our light shines best in darkness. In this dark world! I want to encourage to shine beyond the walls of your church...beyond the walls of your home. I am not saying we as Christians should not have fellowship with other believers. This is important and needed. It is not an option. But how bright does our light shine with other lights? What good is the church only influencing within its walls? How much are we truly impacting the world and advancing God's kingdom? Mike Nappa said in his book, Who Moved My Church?...if we as Christians are not willing to touch our culture then we cannot change it. How true! We need to stop ostracizing people just because they are divorced, or an alcoholic, are homeless, or gay, addicted to drugs or strip on a Friday night to provide for a family of 4 or whatever the reason we do so is. They too need love...our light of The Light of The World to be shown to them. We won't show the world Jesus if we get out there and act like them.
I stated above that at the event I prayed for God to give me opportunities to be compassionate and although God is fully capable to immediately grant us compassion or patience or peace or __________ (fill in the blank) I don't think he will. BUT He will give us opportunities to be compassionate and opportunities to have patience and opportunities to have peace and opportunitites ___________ (fill in the blank again.) If He just gave it, we wouldn't learn a lesson. We wouldn't change. And God's trying to change us. In fact, the Bible is ALL about change. We also wouldn't turn to Him. He wants us to. He wants ALL of us. All of us fully dependent on Him.
One of my opportunities to be compassionate came after leaving this event. It was at a gas station in Arcadia. It was a tiny gas station. Quiet and empty. It had dirty floors and run down walls. And there sat a young girl in the back leaning hopelessly against a wall closest to the restroom. I could see that she was dirty herself. She saw my "Christian group" (nothing wrong, i'm just giving a picture) smiling, laughing, obviously filled with joy and modestly dressed standing in line waiting for one another to finish using the restroom. She politely interrupted our talk and asked if we were from "some church?" She was obviously hurting because she began to pour out to us. I look around and found myself to now be standing alone. I knew this was my opportunity to be compassionate! I knew her answer. I knew the Answer. I asked to sit beside her, I held her dirty hands and prayed for her. I am not saying this to boast. Please hear my heart and think about this...what if I turned away from loving on her and walked out...would she have heard the name of Jesus? What if I only shined my light amongst my "Christian group"...How could the dark be pierced by light?
If we are not willing to touch our culture we cannot change it!
I want to leave you with some questions. Honestly ask them to yourself and ask God to search your heart.
1. Is there someone in your family OR circle of friends that need you to love on them?
2. Since there is someone in the world that needs you to love on them how will you go about doing it? (If you are in the Fort Myers, FL area I can help. Just contact me.)
3. Do you limit your love to only Christians? Why?
Thank you for reading. I adore and appreciate you! Praying too!