Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Thought for Tuesday 29 September 2015

“Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the Church.” 3 John 5

Though we may aspire to change the world with mighty acts of charity (isn’t this our “vow” if The Lord will just let us win the lottery or Publisher’s Clearinghouse?), we can also easily become discouraged when we take time to look around.  The needs are great, and the statistics bear out the reality that even American children go to bed hungry.  In a nation whose wealth is unsurpassed and a government that has massive programs intended to care for these little ones, there are children who do not have enough to eat.  We are reminded of this whenever school holidays and summer vacations roll around; those who depend on free or reduced-price meals at school for basic nourishment will go without.

St. John does not speak of “doing” on a grand scale.  “Whatever you do for” those we don’t even know (including the “brethren” we may not know personally, such as missionaries) has a positive impact.  We will not eradicate poverty or hunger or homelessness overnight, but the overwhelming need does not mean we throw up our hands and give up altogether when we realize we cannot even make a dent alone.

“What can we do?” is not quite the same as asking “What must we do?” because the difference lies in understanding we “must” do something if we bear the name of Christ.  We “can” do anything we wish (including nothing at all if this is our curse), but we also have to have the will to do it.  That will comes from what we know about The Lord and His Word.  If we think we know “Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” and choose to do nothing, the truth is we know nothing at all about The Lord, the Divine Law, or even grace.

“What can we do?”  What would you do for your own family?  For your dearest friends?  That is what we must do for others as we “love our neighbor as ourselves”.  The Church is not the Body of Christ if the Gospel we proclaim does not impact lives in a meaningful way.  Christ is not in “Christ-ian” if we willfully turn a blind eye to the great needs of the community while arrogantly proclaiming ourselves “saved”.  But we “do faithfully” whenever we do for those who cannot do for themselves – however great or small the act.

Prayer will reveal something if we honestly approach The Throne of Mercy with a mind open to The Lord’s influence and direction, but we must be willing to earnestly seek The Lord’s will rather than only The Lord’s favor.  And if we are only willing to give “if” we hit the lottery or Publisher’s Clearinghouse, then the truth is we are not willing to give anything at all … and the Truth is not in us.

The real Power of the Church is in the gathering of those who faithfully and earnestly seek The Lord’s will.  When that Power is unleashed, we will be amazed at what The Lord can really do with a people willing to follow His heart rather than our own desires.



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