Lord help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray,
My prayer shall be for others.
Help me in all the things I do,
To ever be sincerely true,
And know that all I do for you
Must needs be done for others.
Others, Lord, yes others,
Let this, my motto be.
Help me to live for others,
That I might live for thee.
Just like Jesus—so it’s what we do.
Go make someone else’s day.
A pagan observed an early 2nd century AD church. Here is what he saw.
“They abstain from all impurity in the hope of the recompense that is to come in another world. As for their servants or handmaids or children, they persuade them to become Christians by the love they have for them; and when they become so, they call them without distinction, brothers. They do not worship strange gods; and they walk in all humility and kindness, and falsehood is not found among them; and they love one another. When they see the stranger they bring him to their homes and rejoice over him as over a true brother…
“And if there is among them a man that is poor and needy and if they have not an abundance of necessities, they fast two or three days that they may supply the needy with the necessary food.
“They observe scrupulously the commandment of their Messiah; they live honestly and soberly as the Lord their God commanded them. Every morning and all hours on account of the goodness of God toward them, they render praise and laud Him over their food and their drink; they render Him thanks.
“And if any righteous person of their number passes away from this world, they rejoice and give thanks to God and they follow his body as though he were moving from one place to another. And when a child is born to them, they praise God, and if again it chances to die in its infancy, they praise God mightily, as for one who has passed through the world without sins.
“Such is the law of the Christians and such is their conduct.”
—Athenian Philosopher Aristides, c. 101-200
How things have changed. The church might want to take a step back—way back, and ponder what it is and what it use to be—and how we got from there to here.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle [you know nothing about].” —Ian McLaren
We impact every person we meet—there’s no stopping it. When we’re indifferent, people feel it—and often learn it—from us. The same thing is true when we’re kind, compassion and loving—people feel it and learn it—from us. That’s how the world is changed—it’s how Jesus did it and it’s why His impact has traveled so far for so long so powerfully. Walking as He walked Him, even the smallest person has mighty impact. It’s just that big.
“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room…” —Bette Reese
Give ’em Heaven.
“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is Hell.” —C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
People need God’s love and He chose us to lavish it on them. But it isn’t safe—it breaks hearts and leaves scars—such love got Jesus killed. It’s not bottled up among safe friends and it can’t coexist with self-protection. “Love one another as I have loved you.” Now that’s risky.
Go make someone’s day—perhaps even that of your enemy.
“Let God be responsible for the consequences of your obedience.”
“One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons.”
Obedience is your sermon. Preach away.
Have a great Sunday!
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” —G.K Chesterton
God has called me to many things, and in light of the fact that I’m not getting any younger, I’m frequently asked how I do it. “Don’t you get tired?” “Where do you find the time?” “Doesn’t it hurt?” As he burned his finger with a smile while extinguishing a match, T.E. Lawerence quipped, “Of course it hurts—the trick is not minding the pain.” For us who follow Jesus, it’s more than not minding—it’s knowing—knowing that the difficulties of living God’s life on earth are grossly offset by the goodness and love others receive from Him because we were willing to take the pain for them to get it.
Go for it. He who called you is faithful and He is able.
Victorian preacher C.H. Spurgeon had a way of cutting through Christian excuses…
“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and un-prayed for.”
Some things are worth everything and every effort.
(Painting, “Don’t Let Go” by Daniel Cordova)
True story? No clue. Good story? Definitely…
Several years ago a preacher moved to Christchurch, New Zealand. Some weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the bus from his home into the city. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a dollar too much change. As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, “You better give the dollar back. It would be wrong to keep it.” Then he thought, “Oh, forget it, it’s only a dollar. Who would worry about this amount? Anyway the bus company already gets enough; they will never miss it. Accept it as a gift from God and keep quiet.” When his stop came, he paused at the door, then he handed the dollar to the driver and said, “Here, you gave me too much change.” The driver with a smile, replied, “Aren’t you the new preacher just arrived in the city? I have been thinking lately about going to worship somewhere. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change.” When he stepped off the bus, he grabbed the nearest power pole, held on and said, “Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a dollar.” Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read. —Author Unknown
As Jesus’ followers, what we do says who He is; what we say becomes His voice. Be kind and love. You just never know…
As I’m teaching in Jerusalem, I offer a short provocation from Christianity’s holiest site… (5:30)
Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel made a profound observation…
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference… To remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all.”
Jesus was never indifferent. He loved and things happened. Then He told His followers, “Love each another just as I have loved you.”
“…just as I have loved you.”