Summary: God’s interest is people. Do I love what Jesus loves? That is, do I love people as much as Jesus loves people?
"It’s All About the People"
Author: Dr. Neal Gray
Passage: Romans 15:1-7
Purpose: God’s interest is people. Do I love what Jesus loves? That is, do I love people as much as Jesus loves people? As God’s ambassador, and as the pastor of His flock, or as a brother in the family of God, the truest way to please God is to act on this: it’s all about the people.
This past week, I had an epiphany. That is, God became so real to me that I knew God was present. Vicki and I were in the car, (on the way home from Washington, D.C., on April 1, 2002; no, this is not an April’s fool joke!), and I said to her, "Honey, the Lord has just given to me my freshest ’marching orders’ for leading His Church."
You see--and believe me--I knew that I knew that God had spoken. Here’s what the Lord said to me. He said, "It’s all about the people."
I replied, "But Lord, I thought it was all about You, about Jesus, about His Church."
God answered again. I’ll tell you at the end of this message what He said.
Our Scripture is found in Romans 15:1-7.
ARE YOU STRONG?
The passage begins with the phrase, "We then that are strong...." It assumes that some people will have strength that is greater than others.
What Are You Doing with Your Strength?
What will you do with the strength that God has blessed you with? We all make choices about what we will do with our strength. How will you use the strength of your life?
You very well may choose to lavish yourself with all that your hands can produce for you. That’s what the foolish rich man did.
And he said, "This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods." And I will say to my soul, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry."
But God said unto him, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?"
So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:18-21)
Or you may see the wisdom of the Scripture and teachings of Jesus, to be charitable in this life. Our real calling is to care for others.
Examples of Persons Who Bear Other’s Weaknesses
And you do this. In our congregation so many of you are actively bearing the infirmities of the weak members in your families.
I know that so many of you bear many burdens because of loved ones. YOU ARE SO VERY RIGHT IN DOING SO. "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves," (Romans 15:1).
Are You Strong?
Are you strong? What are you doing with your strength? Even Jesus, who is the strongest of the strong used His strength, His abilities, His time, to help others.
Don’t you know that our Lord Jesus could have commanded "legions of angels" to take care of His every need? And yet, He chose to live even without the most basic of necessities, e.g., "the Son of Man hath not [a place] to lay His head," (cf. Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58).
==> You please the Almighty God when you turn your attention away from satisfying yourself, and toward attending to the most basic needs of the weaker persons around you. And THAT IS REAL STRENGTH.
WE ALL HAVE WEAKNESSES
I suppose I should tell you something right now that you may not like to hear. But I shall tell you: EVERYONE HAS WEAKNESSES. Yes, my friend, you have weaknesses. And wouldn’t you like for a compassionate person to bear with your short-comings and your failings?
I Tried to Be Nice
A couple of weeks ago, one my short-comings came to light. Funny thing, I found it out because of my trying to be nice. I had tried to do a nice thing.
I sent to Colleen, (one of our regular Sunday morning worshippers), a note card. My purpose was to tell her how much I appreciate her and her family.
Well, the Sunday after I sent it, Colleen pulled me over to one side in the foyer. "Pastor," she said, "I got your card this week." And she showed me the front side of the card, with her address written in my handwriting and my return address label.
Then she turned the card over so I could see the note side. It was totally blank! Colleen asked, "Uh, Pastor, what did you want to say to me?!"