Summary: A sermon on physical and spiritual care in God's community, the church (Outline and material adapted from Daniel Overdorf's book, What the Bible Says About the Church: Rediscovering Community, chapter 3 Communally Responsible, pages 71- 79)
Older baseball fans remember when Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play MLB, joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. Wherever the Dodgers traveled, opposing players and fans spewed hateful words and racial slurs at Robinson. Pitchers threw fastballs at his head. Opposing base runners attempted to gouge him with the spikes on their shoes as they slid into second base, where Robinson played. Fans threw trash and spat upon him as he returned to the dugout between innings. During one game, the jeers escalated. As fans screamed their tirades and obscenities, one of Robinson’s teammates, a white man named Pee Wee Reese, called time out. Reese walked from his position at shortstop and stood next to Robinson. Reese put his arm around Robinson’s shoulder and simply stood there with him, accepting the jeers alongside his friend. Jackie Robinson later commented that the gesture saved his career; he learned from such friendships that a life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.
In contrast to current thinking that seems to treat society as nothing more than a collection of unrelated individuals who happen to live together, God calls us as individuals to recognize our responsibility for the local church; on the other hand, God calls the church as a whole to recognize its responsibility for the individuals
Thesis: Let’s talk more about providing care within the community especially the community of faith focusing on OT
Physical care within the community
From the OT we find the poor mentioned at least 130 times. Cannot talk about all of these instances and what the Lord had to say about the poor but will mention this custom: “When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.” Deuteronomy 24:19-22, NIV.
From this we see that God’s followers care more about one another than they care about profit or the accumulation of wealth. Several customs and Scriptures give particular attention to groups commonly marginalized in society- aliens, orphans and widows. God held such compassion for these marginalized of society that He warned them: ““Do not ill-treat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt. “Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.” Exodus 22:21-24, NIV.