I listen to John MacArthur on the radio while driving to work. His focus for this week was love. I figured this topic has been taught to pieces and if born again believers don't have a clue by now, its just not going to happen (1 Corinthians 3:2 AMP). But his perspective had me sitting in the parking lot and considering what I have been doing in being the "salt of the earth" or "the light of the world" according to the scriptural reference.
How many of us have instead of saying anything derogatory of a topic would rather stay quiet and pick his/her battles? In fact it became my mantra. The reasoning was: why waste so much energy on a topic that meant little to nothing. Why not use the emotion and passion on something worthy of the debate?
Its menial to you because you know better. Remember, God gave you wisdom liberally and upbraids it not (James 1:5 AMP). Now there are all of these others that has relied on what man has done for them. They think they have the correct answers but you know otherwise and you don't think its worth your time or trouble to make the truth known to them. Really (Matthew 24:14 AMP)?
I am employed in a Jewish elderly community. There is a Jewish woman that came and moved into the community about 5 years ago. She had some diminished learning capacities but claimed to love the Lord with all of her heart, mind, and strength. She always spoke kindly of others, as far as I knew, and made those around her aware of what she went through in her past. Around her neck she wore a gold star of David and a gold crucifix. The Christians never asked her why nor had issue with her attending services every Sunday while still going to temple every now and again. However, her own community asked why would she wear both around her neck. She tried to explain to them but their would reply was for her to choose. Her concern was that she didn't wish to offend anyone. Recently, she was honored, along with a group of others, for her service as a volunteer. That weekend, suddenly she passed away. In the Jewish community when someone dies, the family and friends sit Shiva. I was told her family never came and sat in the community where she resided. The ones who came and sat were the Christians from the church that she attended and was welcomed.
At her funeral, there were 2 people in particular that came. These 2 elderly people talked about her behind her back and loud enough for her to hear what they said. All 3 of them are of the same ethnicity. She had never done anything to them, but those 2 charms around her neck spurned the intolerance they had for her. When she passed, those 2 people came to report their findings of the funeral. They even mentioned how when it was time for the pall bearers to move the casket, none of the family budged. The women considered getting up to do it themselves when a few of the males stood to do the task. I listened and wondered why did those 2 go to the funeral at all. I was told that it was to pay their respects. Payment is null and void.
I thought of this when John MacArthur was speaking. He used the scripture, if you have done all of these things without love, it means nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1 AMP). It was a waste of time. Who are you going to tell of these things you have done; and then what is supposed to happen if you have not gained anything in heaven? A trophy? A car? A new suit (James 5:1-3 AMP)? What will all of those things prove when God says, depart from Me, I know you not?
I also thought about the church and how it has changed in the last 10 years. I have listened to a number of pastors. I have seen their children walk in the footsteps of their fathers and others do what ever they needed to get away from the church and everything they believe it stands for...including marrying spouses that aren't saved. I watched men state that they have been raised in "holiness" yet could not keep a position of authority in ministry until all of their unruly children were grown in houses of their own (1 Timothy 3:12 AMP). I have seen men leave the church because the rules were too strict and those men start their own ministries to do as they pleased and call it in the name of Jesus. What has happened? What are we doing? Where is the faith? Has our capacity of learning been diminished? Has our ability to know the truth and walk in it been compromised?
A divorced mother listened while her grown children reminisce of their childhood. All of their memories were not pleasant and at those times, there were pauses of silence before they continued on with something else. The mother in the past would interrupt her children and try to justify why she had to work 2 shifts or had to allow their father to share custody even though their father believed in corporal punishment most of the time. Those interruptions were always met with intensity and ended with hurt feelings or regrets of harsh words spoken. However, this time when the reminiscing began, the mother said nothing. The children would start again and still the mother had nothing to add nor made any excuses for what she had to do in order for the family to have clothes and food. She remained silent. Then one of her eldest sons asked, why. The mother closed her eyes and sighed before replying, "forgive me." For the first time, her children were at a loss for words but oddly enough - satisfied.
Could this not be a lesson to many in the clergy who have taught things that had nothing to do with the scriptures or preached from anger when the Word tells us to be angry and sin not (Ephesians 4:26 AMP)? Teaching anything that did not come from the truth is a sin - in case you didn't know. We can all justify our actions but when we have learned what the right thing is, how many of us have asked for forgiveness and make that wrong thing right? Too much pride? You know what God says about that too (Proverbs 16:18 AMP).
I challenge anyone reading these blog entries. Many times I have written things from anger but I try to keep it in the Word to make applicable changes in our lives. If there is anything you find that doesn't, please let me know. I do not have an issue with apologizing. I know how much that little statement can do. I will never with hold an apology especially if some action I have done is keeping that person from developing in his/her fullest potential. What about you? Pastors, are you feeding or fleecing us?