Monday, August 18, 2008

Red Letters: Chapter 8 (The Most Important Things)

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy of ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. –Matthew 11:28-30

Just reading those verses enables me to rest and take a deep breath! It all sounds so reassuring. I know I need some reassurance sometimes…especially if I’m tired, worn out or burned out. But hear it again: come to me, get away with me, recover your life, real rest, walk with me, work with me, watch me. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. (how amazing does that in itself sound?) Keep company with me. Live freely and lightly. Deep sigh.

[Now that I just took that deep sigh. I just found out that one of my precious children in Liberia passed away a few weeks ago. Ok God, I need some reassuring.]

This brings me to the opening line of this chapter:
Make a mental list of the top five things that matter most to you.
I’m sure the popular answers are things like family, friends and your relationship God. The thing is, do our lists match God’s? What do you think would make God’s Top 5 list?
Tom wonders if the 5,500 Africans that die everyday from preventable and treatable diseases makes the list. Or what about those suffering from HIV/AIDS? How about 143 million orphans around the world? What about the orphan girl in Liberia who battled sickness for months and still passed away?

What breaks God’s heart should break our heart.

I understand that we all have commitments to our families, friends and jobs; but what about our commitment to Christ? We might not be able to solve all of the problems of the world on our own, but we can use the resources God’s blessed us with to make a difference. We can pray—that’s the most important thing, and there’s no excuse as to why we can’t do that! But there are other things we can do too, like influence, serve, advocate, protect, provide, act, love, inspire, encourage...

Why do we always think that our little effort won’t matter? What if we lived like every little action mattered? Every little thing does matter; it matters so much that it can mean the difference between life and death, free or enslaved, sick or healthy, hungry or satisfied, unsaved or saved. Are we, as Christian, going to move, or are we going to sit comfortably in our silence?

Check this out: Elie Wiesel, author and Holocaust survivor wrote, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

WOW! What a statement!

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.”
Then those “sheep” are going to say, “Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?” Then the King will say, “I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.”

--Matthew 25:34-40
What's your Top 5?

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