Jesus said that the two greatest commandments were
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[e] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.–Matt 22:37,38 (NLT)
We must keep on showing our love for Jesus by loving others. We must be kind to others with charitable acts even when we think we can’t afford it. We must pray daily for Christians that are being persecuted around the world. It appears that it won’t be long until we will need those prayers for ourselves. Don’t love money or believe that it will sustain you. We should depend on God for all of our needs, God said “I will never fail you, I will never abandon you”. We should live our lives as if we really believed that. This is what the Lord requires of us:
8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.– Micah 6:8 (NLT)
23 But David said, “No, my brothers! Don’t be selfish with what the Lord has given us. He has kept us safe and helped us defeat the band of raiders that attacked us.24 Who will listen when you talk like this? We share and share alike—those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment.” — 1 Samuel 30:23, 24 NLT
All of us are spiritual warriors and we live in a spiritual war zone. Some of us go to other lands to carry on the battle and this is important. But just as important are those who stay behind and guard the “stuff”. In our case, the “stuff” is carrying on services in local churches, teaching Sunday School classes and witnessing to those around us. We are fighting the same enemy whether we go or stay. What sense would it make to go to battle for others and lose our own families and neighbors? One job is just as important as the other. How could we carry on any campaign against the enemy, if we didn’t have workers who supported the war with their tithes? God has given each of us talents and He has a plan and a purpose for each of us to use those talents in service to Him.
Our mission, Mr./Mrs/Miss Christian, should we decide to accept it, is to determine what those talents are and use them for Kingdom purposes. There are no spectators on the battlefield. Each of us has a job to do and God has blessed each of us with the talent to do it. The war has been won, we know the final outcome. Jesus wins! But there are battles to be fought and we need to strap on the full armor of God, step up and take our position in the fight. Just as God told Jehoshaphat, the battle is not yours, it is mine, but you and your people still have to take up your position on the battlefield.
From the beginning, God based His plan on showing us love and teaching us how to love. We are commanded to love each other. Then God showed us the greatest example of love by giving His only Son to redeem us from sin. Jesus said that all of the law and the prophets were hinged on two commandments–“Love the Lord your God…. and love your neighbor as yourself”. Then over and over throughout the Scriptures we are reminded to love each other. We are also told that perfect love keeps us from fearing others and other things. The kind of love that God wants us to learn is love that expects nothing in return. God wants us to be like Him and love like He loves. If we follow the love chain throughout the scriptures, we can only come to one conclusion, “God is Love”. Christians should be like good hashbrowns, served smothered and covered with love and scattered among the people.
We all know the old hymn, “Where He Leads Me, I Will Follow”. We sing it quite often in worship services across the nation regardless of the denomination. It is a great invitational song for getting people to commit to the mission fields. But I wonder if we really hear the words that we are singing or if we are just making noise. I think we need to change the song for a while and sing “Where He leads me, will I follow?”. Will I go on a mission trip? Oh no, can’t spare the time for that. Will I visit those in prisons? Nope, not my calling. Will I visit the sick in the hospitals and pray for their healing? Again, I just don’t feel the call. Will I feed the hungry? Well, you know I give to charities to do that. Will I walk across the street to witness to my neighbor? You know, they might be offended, really need to be careful there. Will I ask a lost family member if we could pray together? Well. they are not going to listen, they know I’m not perfect. Don’t I need a calling to do those things? Well, here is our calling,
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matt. 28:18-20
HEAR IT! HEED IT! NOW!
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
We are all familiar with the commandment that Jesus called the second most important commandment. We believe it, but how do we walk that out in our everyday lives? How do we show the world around us that we love Jesus and that we love them? Of course, we can see those in need physically, financially and materially. We should always fulfill those needs as much as we possibly can. But what about those with spiritual needs? If our neighbor had a deadly disease and we had the cure, would we withhold it? Yet, there are those in our families, our circle of friends, and in our neighborhood, who have a deadly disease called sin.
15 Your desire grows inside you until it results in sin. Then the sin grows bigger and bigger and finally ends in death–James 1:15 (ERV)
We have the cure for that disease, why don’t we share it with everyone who has not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior? Remember, we were once infected with that disease and someone shared the cure with us. “Go and do likewise”.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
We have been commanded to “love our neighbors”. How do we do that? Let’s consider this fact: If you are a Christian, you have a free gift that your neighbor needs. If you love your neighbor, why don’t you talk to them and offer them that gift. After all, as an anonymous person once said: “The Gospel has come to you because it is on its way to someone else.” Since that is true, we need to keep it going until it circles the globe. Since it is free to you and to them, this should be an easy task. The reason it is sometimes so awkward is that our neighbors don’t know that we care about them. And as it has been said, many times, “They don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” So, let them know you care and share a free gift with them, the Good News of Jesus Christ and His love for them. And, as Paul told Timothy: “go, whether, it is an opportune time or not”. In simpler terms, make time to care and the returns on your time will be worth much more than anything else you could have done.
27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.
28 If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.” — Proverbs 3:27, 28 NLT
Have you ever had this happen to you? You are in a public place and you see someone and suddenly you have this strange notion that you should speak to them. You don’t know this person, you may or may not have seen them somewhere before. You think about speaking but you turn and walk away. But minutes later, you come face to face with this same person and you feel that nudge to speak to them. Looking at them, you can discern no particular need, but the urge to speak to them lingers. No, I just don’t have time to engage anyone in conversation right now or he/she probably doesn’t have time or doesn’t want to be bothered is what we think. So, we turn and we walk away. If this should happen to you today or at anytime in the future, let me encourage you to just stop and simply say “Hello, how are you doing today?” and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit from that point on. You might well be surprised at the blessing both of you will receive from that simple start. We have to understand that the command to “go and make disciples” is a constant command and Jesus would not have told us to “go and make” if He wasn’t going to give each of us an opportunity to do just that. Going and making disciples starts with our next encounter with any person. Just follow the example of Jesus who “went about doing good”.