Written on May 14, 2017
For those of us that choose to follow Jesus Christ – to be the light of the world through our good works so that others may know us by our fruit, we cannot ignore the instructions on how to “let our light shine as the morning” in Isaiah 58:
“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?”
Today is Mother’s Day in the United States.
As a collective, there is an appreciation given to those who have children – natural or through adoption. In the same sense, as believers and disciples, we can have brothers and sisters that are considered “spiritual children,” adopted into our households and are under our covering.
However, it is becoming a trend to lead a person into salvation and the “sinner’s prayer” to accept Christ as their savior and then leave them to pick up their own journey for themselves – leaving them without the vital support system they need for growth in the Lord. You will find a large population of these spiritual “orphans” are within the homeless communities.
In order to receive food, meals, or any kind of assistance oftentimes churches or other religious-based organizations require the homeless to first listen to the presentation of the gospel. For those that have accepted Christ through this process are still left out on the streets, cast out by society, and are the poor, the dirty, and the dying – physically and spiritually.
In the Spirit, as we are commanded by our Lord, let us complete our mission as per Isaiah 58. Let us feed them – physically and spiritually. Let us clothe them – physically and spiritually. Let us break each yoke and undo the heavy burdens and teach them the Lord’s Word and how to live out His truth daily. And let us bring them into our households – yes, this is also commanded from us.
So many times when confronted with this passage, we hear the same responses: “Oh, but you have to be wise”, “Oh, but they usually have mental, emotional, or physical issues that we may not be able to deal with or can be problematic”, “They don’t have anything so they will steal your things to sell for drugs or alcohol”, or “Oh, but I have children and I have to protect them, so I could never do something like that”.
The large majority of pastors and members of their congregation give responses like these because we tend to lean on our own understanding and become fearful instead of trusting in the Lord and allowing Him to be our source and supply.
In Matthew 6, Christ says this:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through or steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light….No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
If we, as believers and disciples, choose to make excuses for not following Christ’s words and the Lord’s commands to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and bring those that are poor and cast out into our homes, then we are prioritizing our own understanding, our house, our stuff, and our families ahead of the Lord and following Him. If you claim to be a follower of Christ, then do the good works commanded of you so that we may, as the body of Christ, be the light unto the world.
Does this sound harsh to you?
Christ says in Matthew 10: 34-39:
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”
We are not called as believers or disciples to mince the words of Christ or to pick and choose which commands we wish to follow, but rather to uphold them and obey them. Follow and obey Him always; even if you have a spouse or children, or your family ends up despising you or rejecting you, or others say you are foolish, or someone steals from you – always obey Christ and his commands.
Christ has commanded us to be the light of this world, but we cannot be the light if we refuse and make excuses that anyone of the world (who is not a believer) makes. For those that choose not to take up his or her cross and follow Christ in His commands are not worthy of Him and will lose their life. (Remember, not my words, but His!)
Now, let me encourage those that are afraid or apprehensive, as someone who has been there, done it, been persecuted for it, and came out stronger in faith than ever before because of it:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thine ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7)
“…be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus…thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warmth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:1-4)
For the brothers and sisters who are already soldiers in Christ, doing the things commanded of each of us: continue to fight a good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith. Your reward is in heaven. Be blessed in all things and may others see your good works as the light that is love, that is and from the Lord.