Summary: Doing for others is one of the best ways to do for ourselves
onday I had the TV on and watched an interview with various actors in the new movie “Head Over Heels”. The host of the show was interviewing the models who are in the movie. At one point he asked something about how difficult it must be to live like we suppose models have to live. This one woman said something that jumped out at me. She responded, “It’s what we do not who we are.”
I began to wonder about the Church as a whole. Is following Jesus something we do or something we are? Unfortunately, for some who attend various denominations around our nation their Christianity is something they do. They do it on Christmas, Easter and Mother Day. They do it for an hour or two on Sunday. They do it when it’s convenient and doesn’t away from what they want to do. And I believe such people exist within the Church because they haven’t seen Jesus present with them on Sunday let alone everyday.
The outlook of those models is not an option for a follower of Jesus. Being a Christian isn’t only “what we do” but it’s also “who we are”. We cannot divide up our calling and our being they are too closely linked together in Jesus. And what makes the difference is whether we “see” Jesus present in our midst. Consider those who walked alongside Jesus daily. They were called to do something different but to also be something different—Peter, James, John from fishing to preaching; Matthew from stealing to integrity...Paul from persecuting the church to being it’s missionary and all because of an encounter with Jesus. What’s more, the difference in what they “did” was a direct outcome of what they had “become”.
Seeing Jesus in our midst moves those who follow Him to go out of their way to help others, to minister to their needs. It directs us to serve those who are lacking, who are helpless, and in need. It’s also a next logical step in our adventure because this service is
& part of “walking in the light
& the way we demonstrate love to Him (Matthew 25)
& the natural “fruit” of worshipping Christ
These have been the last three weeks themes of our adventure.
Meeting such needs is also not always easy. Adventurer Robert Young Pelton was confronted with the price of commitment while in Afghanistan. "When I was being shelled on a front line north of Kabul, I asked a 23-year-old Taliban fighter, ’Why don’t we dig trenches to escape the bombardment?’
"He looked at me and asked, ’If you didn’t come here to die, why are you here?’" That’s the cost of commitment among believers. It’s putting our lives on the line for others so that they turn to us and ask “why are we there?”
Seeing Jesus in our midst moves those who follow Him to go out of their way to help others, to minister to their needs by the power of God. How do we manage to do such a thing? 1 Peter 4:11 says “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ”
Paul is talking about using the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to each believer. (There’s a lot more teaching about them in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12) These gifts are given, as God desires in order to build up, encourage and strengthen other believers. Here Peter lumps them into two broad categories of speaking and service. That’s because most of the gifts fall into one of these two.
Peter has just used two examples of what this looks like and what to look out for. He talks about loving others and tells us that, “lover covers a multitude of sins”. He’s not saying that if we love someone enough his or her sins won’t matter. He’s saying that love forgives and moves beyond sins rather than stirs up dissention and hostility. The verse is actually a quote of Proverbs 10:12 which says “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.“ It’s what Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13:5 when he writes love keeps “no records of wrongs.”
This love is an intense love that pushes forward for the goal. It’s not a warm fuzzy feeling but a decision to act in a loving manner, for the good of others. For Peter the issue of “hospitality” becomes an example of what this service looks like for the Church. It’s providing it without grumbling. The understanding for whom we are responsible changes for the follower of Jesus. Family is broadened to include those who bear the name of our elder brother and thus we show the same hospitality to them we do to our own.