I read a Rick Warren quote a couple weeks ago that I haven’t been able to escape ever since.
The last thing many believers need to go to is another Bible study. They already know far more than they’re putting into practice.
Reading that really challenged me. Its often easy for me to think that learning more about what Jesus said gets me off the hook for having to actually walk out and do what Jesus said do and be who Jesus said to be. Personally, I grew up in a church environment that knew all about “church” and all kinds of doctrine and could quote you half the Bible, but never really did anything with it but try hard to be “holy” and come back to church.
Often, people in the Gospels who got in the most trouble with Jesus were the ones thought they were working hardest on their spiritual life. They were trying so hard to be good that they could not stop thinking about how hard they were trying, and that got in the way of their loving other people.
That Jesus just spent time with the oppressed, dejected and broken isn’t what set Him apart. It was that He LOVED them. To be honest, anyone can serve a meal to a homeless person. You don’t have to believe in Jesus to serve the oppressed. But as followers of Christ, what should make us different than everyone else doing what we’re doing is who we are and how that filters how and why we do what we do.
Last night at Stretch, we talked about how as much as we love how the group has grown and we’ve been able to mobilize a lot of people to service and action, ultimately we’re doing a disservice if we only get people to serve a meal to a homeless person but don’t challenge them to LOVE that homeless person, look them in the eye, remember their name and dignify their humanity the way Jesus would have.
We’re about to dig into David Platt’s book “Radical” together and challenge each other to go deeper into community and service, and allow ourselves to be uncomfortable to a degree that we begin to understand what it means to live like Jesus tells us to.
Josh Wilson has a great new song called “I Refuse”. In this video, he talks about how he was praying for the people affected by the Nashville flood earlier this year, and praying for people to step up and come help. But then he wondered if it was possible for him to be hiding behind his prayer and using it as a defense and a cop-out to actually doing something himself. I was really moved by that and thought it was a perfect compliment to how all this fits together. We showed the video at Stretch last night and begin to challenge people with the awareness of the great needs that exist all around them and ask the hard question…
Will you refuse to do nothing?