Being the Love of Christ for a Hurting World
I have been nominated to be on the Board of Elders for my church, which is both a great honor and a big responsibility. Even though the official vote isn’t until tomorrow night, I was invited to attend a joint meeting of our Executive Leadership Team and Board of Elders last week. At the end of the meeting our out-going president shared a wonderful message of his vision and hope for our church. He started by reading the passage from Matthew 25 about the sheep and the goats. This is Jesus’ prophecy of the end times when He will separate the people like a farmer separates sheep and goats, putting the sheep on the right and the goats on the left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:34-40 (NLT).
He pointed out that as a church we had done a great job of putting structures into place for people to come and worship, to come to Sunday school, and to come and fellowship. All of these things are good, for us to come together and grow in our faith. But he challenged us to not just be a “come” church, but to be a “go” church. He challenged us to go and feed the hungry, clothe those in need of clothes, heal and minister to those who are sick, and to visit those in prison.
He also made the observation that those who are on the Lord’s right are referred to as righteous, but their focus had not been on becoming righteous or earning their righteousness. They simply were righteous. As I thought about this, it occurred to me that they their focus was on loving others, on feeding, clothing, healing, and visiting “the least of these.” In fact, they were so focused on doing this that they didn’t even realize they were doing anything special. It was just second nature for them to love and care for others.
Listening to my dear brother in Christ, a man who definitely has the heart of Christ, the song “Hands and Feet” by Audio Adrenaline started running through my head. I even told him afterwards that he had inspired a Music Monday blog post based on that song. (Note: If you’re looking for that video, you won’t find it here because God had another, better idea.)
Then I got out to the car to go home, and the song that was on the CD when I started the car was “Won’t You Be My Love” by MercyMe. I love this song. The chorus is a plea from Jesus to be His hands and feet for a lost world:
Won’t you be my voice calling
Won’t you be hands healing
Won’t you be my feet walking
Into a broken world
Won’t you be my chain breaker
Won’t you be my peace maker
Won’t you be my hope and joy
Won’t you be my LOVE
You can’t be Jesus’ love for a broken world by just sitting in a pew each week. You have to go out into the world in need of love. You have to go where there are hungry people and feed them. You have to go where there are homeless people and provide them with clothes and housing. You have to go where there are sick people and help them to heal. You have to go where there are non-believers and share with them the grace of Christ. It’s great to come to church each week, but it’s not enough to be on the Lord’s right in the judgment. The love of Christ must dwell in your heart and caring for others must be second nature.
God bless you, Linda, and your nomination for the Board of Elders. That is huge and I can’t think of anyone better suited for it. 🙂 (I’m not prejudice either. 😉 )
I loved the song, hadn’t heard it, and the whole idea of being a go church. It has me thinking about Jesus going from town to town. He didn’t stay in one place and expect everyone to come to Him.
God bless you and all the plans He has for you!
Deb, Thank you. I will appreciate your prayers as I head into this important role. But I know the only reason I am well suited for the role is because I know that on my own I am not suited for it at all, which means I will have to continually rely on Jesus to sustain me. I’m glad you liked the song. It’s on MercyMe’s newest CD. I just loved how God worked out that evening so that the perfect song was playing when I got into the car. The lyrics really make me think about those in the world who are so much worse off than I am and what I can do to help. Thank you for the observation that Jesus was a “go” kinda guy, too! That’s perfect. I will have to share that with my friend who inspired this post. Peace, Linda
Excellent post Linda! I wish you well on your new role on the Board of Elders!
Thank you for stopping by and for your good wishes. Peace, Linda
We all need to be “go” Christians in a “go” Church.
I believe Church is primarily a place for Christians to gather together as one in Christ, to encourage one another and to worship Him and feed on His Word. MOST non-believers would feel extremely out of place in such an environment, but of course this is not always the case. Many have been saved after stumbling into a Church service. I believe the “come to Church” is more valid where we are talking about ministries within the Church, such as a ladies fellowship, a craft group, a mens shed, and especially childrens and teen ministries.
As believers we need to “go” into our communities, showing the love of Christ and telling of His plans whenever we have opportunity. This is the responsibility (and enormous privilege) of every child of God. The “come” to Church will follow later if the Holy Spirit is at work convicting the person.
Thanks for stopping by. I love your parenthetical pointing out that it is not only our responsibility to go out into our communities and share the love of Christ, but it is indeed our privilege to do so. That He would entrust us with His love and His grace is sometimes beyond my comprehension, but I am thankful that He has. Peace, Linda
Linda, blessings to you and your fellow elders as you fulfill your leadership commitments for the next several years.
Derrick, Thank you for this prayer. We are a relatively new church and we know God has great things in store for us to do. My prayer is that we are always open to His direction. Peace, Linda
Thank you, Linda
I have to take this as confirmation!
Our last rehearsal wa more of a sharing worship session than anything … one of the things that echoed in the room, was the need to go and share. We’ve all heard the story countless times yet there are those who have never heard. How are we being His hands and feet if we just sit around and listen in smug satisfaction while a hurting woe is on it’s way to certain destruction….
God bless you for sharing this with is today. Praying He will order your steps. Praying also that He will open doors to avenues for service and that we will trust Him enough to be his hands and feet…
Ann, We had a guest speaker at church yesterday, a young man who recently returned from a mission trip to Indonesia. He gave a wonderful sermon about being the hands and feet of Christ, of just being available for whatever God might want us to do. And we don’t have to go half way around the world to do it. We just need to go outside the walls of the church and all around us are those who need the love of Christ. I echo your wonderful prayers for all of His people to trust enough to walk through the doors that He opens. Peace, Linda
So many Christians forget what you have just mentioned. It takes more than sitting down each week or reading the Bible or even prayer. There has to be an action with it too!
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a nice comment. Peace, Linda
No prob. Its always a pleasure.