Tuesday, August 11, 2015

“Inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these [who were hungry, thirsty, an unwelcome stranger, naked, sick, or in prison], you did not do it for Me.”  Matthew 25:45 NKJV

Let’s be real.  A photo is floating about on social media of a bloodied and fallen Jesus with the caption, "Would you help Him up?".  It is being shared by well-meaning Christians who are trying to … well, frankly I’m not sure what they’re trying to do.  What is actually revealed, however, is not in the photo itself; it is in the reality of our daily living.  If we will ignore a stranger, curse an alien, gossip about an enemy, write off those who are hungry as ‘lazy’, etc., then the reality is we would very likely NOT help up a man carrying a heavy wood cross while surrounded by armed soldiers.  We would like to believe we would if we knew for a fact it was indeed Jesus, but here again reality will not let us off the hook; those who watched Jesus endure this unspeakable pain knew who He was.  They knew what He had done for so many, but there was no way they were going to stand up to a hostile crowd which was already stirred into a frenzy nor would they face down armed guards.  I think if there had been such a brave soul, Matthew or Mark or Luke or John would have mentioned that late brother or sister.

I think when we allow ourselves to be drawn into fantasy religion based on less-than-biblical (or at least less-than-honest) bumper-sticker theology, we lead ourselves to believe almost anything we wish to believe; that we would be true to Jesus if He fell down right in front of us, but we will not go out of our way to worship Jesus’ Father on Sunday in air-conditioned comfort if there is a ball tournament or visiting family or friends, or a football game or hunting/fishing season, etc.  So clearly we will not be “following” Him; He’d pretty much have to fall down right in front of us on the beach or on the 50-yard-line or in front of the tree stand, etc.

We all have the very best of intentions, but the truth is our daily living and weekly worship habits reveal exactly what we will actually do if/when pressed.  We may even have an intense desire to prove to The Lord that we would do the right thing if challenged, but there again the Truth confronts us – because we don’t have to do anything so heroic as to face down a hostile crowd or an armed contingent of soldiers with our very own death wish.  We need only to feed a stranger, help an alien, visit the home-bound, etc., because our Lord is clear: If you want to find Me, you have to know where to look.  And most assuredly I say to you that I will not be with you on the bow of your fishing boat or sitting on the 9th-hole tee box or even on your front porch sipping coffee with you - not as long as there are hungry, thirsty, lonely, isolated, incarcerated souls who are being ignored by My so-called “church”.  Jesus might even go so far as to say, If you will not even look after those who cannot look after themselves and if you cannot be bothered to worship the One who sent Me, or if you love mother or father or husband or wife or son or daughter more than Me (Matthew 10:37), it will be impossible to show that I am “in your heart”.

Let’s be real.


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