There have been times when I have bumped into people I haven’t seen for ages and I suggest we catch up some time soon. Invariably I often get answers such as “oh no, I’m sorry I just don’t have the time.. what with work and ministry and all the church services and bible studies and prayer meetings…”. Some have thought it’s incredibly “spiritual” to say that they are not even able to spend time with their grandchildren despite the little ones asking them when they could meet. I have observed others shrugging their responsibilities to travel all over town to be present at such events. Adult children leaving alone at home dependent ailing mothers in pain without food from morning till they return home quite late in the night. Sometimes it’s pointless pointing all this out to them.
Instead what came to my mind was Jesus approaching the Pharisees. He condemned them and rebuked them for their religious spirit and addressed them harshly. These are people who did things “Christianese” but didn’t know what relationships meant. Everything had to fit into their well defined box. Jesus rebuked them for their keeping with “dates and times and seasons”. They were driven by structure, by the calendar, by seasons and dates. They hadn’t grasped the essence of Christianity such that they couldn’t even recognise the Messiah Jesus Christ who was right amongst them.
- What is your life like?
- Are you like the Pharisees so busy making religious law and involved in religious activities that you can’t even sense the presence of God right where-ever you are?
Jesus on the other hand makes it clear that being a believer is centred around RELATIONSHIPS.. it’s about loving God with ALL our heart, soul, strength and mind… It’s about one another… It’s not about ourselves anymore. The former flows into the latter.. and the former is developed by spending time with God with a heart open to hearing His voice and to be led by the Holy Spirit with a grateful heart for the work of Jesus Christ who has made it possible.
The early churches were focused on these very things. They met with one another daily, shared their food and shared their wealth so that no one was in need. It was about bonding, it was about being there for one another – not about meeting each other for an activity with a superficial greeting just to merely say bye at the end of the program. We are to be mutually edifiying, helping one another to grow. Going for religious activities at the expense of disobeying God’s Word is not going to earn us brownie points but instead rebuke from Him. Jesus makes it clear that it is by our love for one another that we will be known as His disciples! And trust me, this very Jesus gave up His life for you and me demonstrating His love for us. That’s the kind of love that God is expecting – demonstrating love in action… not the sweet, flattering, lip service of love. Are we able to feel sorrow when another is feeling sorrow? Well that’s what the Bible says will happen to the parts of the Body of Christ. So if we don’t feel that way, then perhaps we need to ask whether we are part of the Body of Christ where CHRIST is the head, not a human.
What we sow is what we reap… when we don’t step in and fulfill our acts of compassion, we too would be left in the very way we neglect others.
At the end of the day though, how we respond in different situations, in different scenarios is the fruit of where our relationship with God really stands. If we are in intimacy with Him, we would automatically respond with His love and compassion as we would be filled with it. If we haven’t developed intimacy with Him, how can we echo the Father Heart of God?
Trying to build the brotherhood of man without the fatherhood of God is like trying to make a wheel without a hub – Irene Dunne
In every one of our choices, in how we use the resources (time, money, actions, gifts etc etc) God has entrusted to us, we need to remember that the narrow path is what leads to life! It is our choice…
God regenerates us and puts us in contact with all his divine resources, but He cannot make us walk according to his will – Oswald Chambers
There are different motives behind our choices. Earning a pat on the back from a person at the expense of from God is of no value! At the end of the day, it is all about relationship – first and foremost with God!