Summary: the church is a living organism not a stale organization. Community in action explains a church that is active for Christ
Catherine Lawes was told to stay away from the prisoners, but that didn’t stop Catherine When the first prison basketball game was held, she went…..walking into the gym with her three beautiful kids and she sat in the stands with the inmates.
Her attitude was: “My husband and I are going to take care of these men and I believe they will take care of me I don’t have to worry ”
She insisted on getting acquainted with them and their records. She discovered one convicted murderer was blind so she paid him a visit. Holding his hand in hers she said, “Do you read Braille?”
“What’s Braille?” he asked. Then she taught him how to read. Years later he would weep in love for her.
Later, Catherine found a deaf-mute in prison. She went to school to learn how to use sign language. Many said that Catherine Lawes was the body of Jesus that came alive again in Sing Sing from 1921 to 1937.
Then, she was killed in a car accident. The next morning Lewis Lawes didn’t come to work, so the acting warden took his place. It seemed almost instantly that the prison knew something was wrong.The following day, her body was resting in a casket in her home, three-quarters of a mile from the prison. As the acting warden took his early morning walk, he was shocked to see a large crowd of the toughest, hardest looking criminals gathered like a herd of animals at the main gate. He came closer and noted tears of grief and sadness. He knew how much they loved Catherine. He turned and faced the men, “All right, men, you can go. Just be sure and check in tonight ” The he opened the gate and a parade of criminals walked, without a guard, the three-quarters of a mile to stand in line to pay their final respects to Catherine Lawes. And every one of them checked back in. Every one
Catherine is a picture of Christ’s Caring Community
Matthew 25:31-46-Jesus gives us a picture two communities, the world and the church. Here are the keys to being part of the “ Community in Action.”
v.35– A giving community–to be a part of Christ’s community you must be a giver. Jesus says that at the end of the world people will be divided into two groups, givers and non-givers. Sometimes I think religion gets things to complicated, the ministry comes from the heart and not the head.
Ill) Charles Spurgeon–preaching for his orphans-man complained, I thought you went after the hearts of men, Spurgeon said, my orphans can’t eat hearts, but if they could it would take 4 of yours to feed one of them.
v.35c-An Accepting Community–I was a stranger and you took me in. The best way for a church to grow is to accept strangers, to have an open door policy.
Some churches are hard to get into, some churches have built in methods to keep out undesirables. Jesus says, open the doors, accept people where they are at. When you accept strangers in, in a while they will become your friends, co-workers, part of Christ’s caring community.
V.36-A Caring Community–I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me. Ill)Ruffian movie, trainer with her on Christmas day.
To have pure religion you must have a caring heart. This is all ministry outside the doors of the church. It is part of the community in action. True ministry starts when the service is over. People see more of Jesus in our caring than in our singing, preaching or any other thing.
V.36c-A Forgiving Ministry–I was in prison and you visited me. Most people if they live long enough will make mistakes. Some of these mistakes will place them in prison. But Christ’s community isn’t a judging community but a loving community. When people hit rock bottom, the church must be there.
V.40- A Ministry to the Least–they asked, when did we minister to you Jesus, his response, when you minister to the least, to the lowest, to the neglected, to the hurting and the lonely, you ministered to me.
With all the Christian conferences, Christian concerts, Christian councils, sometimes I wonder if we realize that Christian ministry doesn’t begin until it hits rock bottom. Not the highest place, but the lowest place, is where you really minister for Christ.
Close: every day we get an opportunity to not only minister for Christ, but to minister to Christ. As we minister to people who are the least, the lowest, those who are at the bottom, we minister to Christ.
Ill) I love the story of the family with the little boy sitting at their dinner table. Every night the day would pray, and Jesus be with us for our meal. The little boy noticed no setting for Jesus at the table, so they put out an extra setting every night. One night the doorbell rang and it was a beggar at the door. The little boy said, Dad, Jesus couldn’t make it tonight, so he sent us this man. After the meal the man said, because of your kindness, I have decided to give my life to Jesus Christ.