Message for May 31, 2020

An appropriate responder.

As a young fellow from a Christian family I determined to be a strong witness for Jesus, I’d call myself an “aggressive initiator “. That means I’d head into my day looking for opportunities to see God do great things . My dream was to see God heal the sick, deliver the oppressed, convert the heathen and so on. I was young and naive with good intentions. It was hard enough to find the right situation and harder to initiate interest from these wayward and needy people. The rare occasion that came along got me excited. This is it Lord, now you can do Great things and show the world who you are!
However, I would come away each time disappointed and frustrated and asking God, where were you ? You missed a good opportunity. This happened again and again.
I became discouraged and complained, Lord, I’m trying really hard and setting you up but you don’t show up …. why ??? As I imagined the conversation with Jesus, He looked back at me and said, I think you have this all backwards . Instead of you setting me up and sharing in the desired outcome , how about I set you up without you even knowing it . I may not even share with you the outcome . All I want from you is that you RESPOND APPROPRIATELY to whatever I put in front of you.
As I contemplated this strange conversation one day I came across Matt 11: 17
“ we played the flute for you and you did not dance, we mourned to you and you did not lament.” The context was Jesus speaking of his generation. All he wanted from them was that they respond appropriately !!! Wow !
Could it really be that simple ? It was like a weight was lifted off me. I didn’t have to look so hard or set Him up. He was in control behind the scenes and would get ALL the glory.
I then read Matt 25:31-46:
“I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in, naked and you clothed me and in prison and you visited me.”
My life changed dramatically, and as I look back on many years of ministry I see a journey of service in missionary work, street ministry, and even prison ministry, all having been PUT in my path by God.
Through these I’ve learned that they fall into three categories:
1 the obvious …. like the street beggar that you have to respond to or try to avoid;
2 the hidden ….. like the stranger, orphan, and widow ….. GO FIND THEM !
3 the undesirable ….. the prisoner who is paying for his own sin …. SHOW COMPASSION !
The other big lesson I learned was that ALL these will COST you if you get involved.
If it doesn’t cost you then it’s not LOVE.
LOVE is someone else’s best interest at my expense …. i.e. Jesus had my best interest in mind when He went to the cross.
My challenge is that we respond appropriately to whatever God puts in our path each day; do it with joy without knowing the outcome until we stand before him and he says, WELL DONE !

God bless you all. Amen

John Stanley.

1 Comment

  • by Currie Phillips Posted May 27, 2020 8:55 pm

    Right on, pastor John!

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