Walking the Walk
I am reading the gospels right now, just started actually. I love reading about the life of Jesus. For one thing, I have a vivid (sometimes to vivid) imagination and I love to picture it all happening. Jesus calming a storm, Jesus driving out a demon, Jesus giving someone sight. I love to try and picture the looks on the faces of the disciples, the gasps and shock of the crowds. Those who fling themselves at him and those who hold back, not quite sure what to think.
You know, it has been occurring to me as I've studied Jesus ministry that he was always meeting the needs of people. In fact, he most often met the physical needs of people before teaching them anything. It makes sense, really. People are more open, more accepting of something when they have had their needs met. A starving child just want's a bite to eat. A cold woman just want's a warm coat. An orphan just wants a home.
The truth is, we can't usually see past our immediate need. Jesus knew this about us. He didn't come and stand on a throne to proclaim his lordship. He got down on his hands and knees and met the immediate needs of the people and in doing so, showed us his lordship.
He didn't just tell us, he showed us.
I wonder how much more effective I would be as a follower if I didn't just tell people Jesus heals, but showed them. I wonder how much more effective I would be as a follower if I didn't just tell people Jesus provides, but I gave what I have to them.
I have felt the challenge lately to seek out the opportunity to show others Christ, not just tell them. This has nothing to do with performing to get God's approval. On the contrary, these "shows" of God's power to others are really just demonstrations of his love for us. I don't want to lay hands on someone and watch God heal them so I will know he approves of me. I want to lay hands on someone and watch God heal them so they will know God loves them.
See, I believe God's love is tangible. I believe it's not some mystical thing we all seek but never find. No. I believe we can touch it, feel it, see it, hear it. I believe that when I meet someone's earthly need, I can do so in the name of Jesus and his love can be poured out. Talk is cheap, friends. I can talk all day long about the greatness of God, but until I show someone his greatness, my word is worthless. Have you ever heard the phrase, "put your money where your mouth is."? I think it's time I put action into what I preach. It's time to stop talking about it and do it.
I certainly don't have this thing all figured out. I am scared to death in fact, to walk out some of this. I mean, I might pray for someone and they might still die. I could offer someone my coat, and it could be stolen from them. I could get hurt in the process of pouring out God's love to others. There are lot's of "might's" and "what ifs" in this whole following Jesus thing. I guess that is why it's good to remember that it's not me doing the work, and I don't see the big picture. It would be better for me to show someone a piece of that picture than to withhold that piece because I am afraid of what I can't understand and can't see. What I do see is that following Christ is not about my comfort and safety. Following Christ is about being so entangled in perfect love that it just spills out to others in whatever way it can.
Sometimes, when I read about the amazing signs and wonders of Jesus' ministry I have to remind myself that he did those things to show me that I can too. In fact, he told us that we would do greater things than we saw him do if we would just follow. The bottom line is that one day every single person to ever walk this Earth will finally see that God's love is real, whether they accepted it or not. My calling from heaven is to go show his love now, while it's not too late. I can be his hand that heals, his mouth that speaks life, his eyes that show mercy. I can...and I will.
"As you go preach this message: the kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give" Matthew 10:7-8