February 8 – Your Love Extended

Your Love Extended

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:34-36)

Read: Exodus 28:1-43, Matthew 25:31-26:13, Psalm 31:9-18, Proverbs 8:12-13

Relate: Just over a year ago I stood on a street corner for hours and watched a panicked exodus. The fight between the terrorists (or more accurately, freedom fighters) and the police (or more accurately, terrorists) had intensified early on the morning of my first day there. It went from sporadic gunfire into a running battle. The police (terrorists) enlarged their “curfew” (read “banned”) zone and five to six thousand people were forcibly evacuated their homes over the course of the next two days. I watched as people were carrying appliances, rugs, clothes, and other basic living items on their backs and then dumping them into piles on or near this major intersection. From there they would be part of a que loading up as a steady caravan of empty trucks arrived, loaded up, and then left for other parts of the city. There are no words to express how heartbreaking this scene was. The number of displaced refugees within the city of Diyarbakir jumped to over twenty-five thousand by the time I was leaving on Friday.

There was a silver lining that I did discover walking other parts of the city late Thursday afternoon. On a whim I left the main street I was walking and instead walked up a parallel narrow alley just two blocks over. About every five to six blocks I would find one of these trucks unloading. This wasn’t a rich part of town. The apartments here were probably even smaller than they looked if they match such similar apartments in similar areas of Istanbul. But as crowded as these homes probably already were, I watched over and over again these kind and loving citizens open their homes to those who had been evicted (on pain of death) from theirs. Were they family? Were they coworkers to the ones they were inviting in? Were they random strangers who have a heart of gold? Whatever the reason, I cannot but help compare the response of the western world that has such a greater capacity and yet continues to keep their doors closed.

React: I wonder how many of us in the west will end up surprised when we are standing before the throne. We will wonder why the doors have been shut on us when we have so evilly shut our doors on others. Will we hear the Lamb saying to us, “Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.”

Respond: 

Dear God, 

Please enlarge our hearts. We have been so richly blessed by You. We have reliable electricity, clean drinkable running water, and heat in our homes. This alone puts us at an advantage over billions. As we browse our social media and sip our lattes, remind us of those who are wondering where they will find shelter when the sun sets and the snow begins falling again. When You have given us the capacity to do so much forgive us for doing so little. Help us look for ways to step out both locally and globally to show love to those who so desperately need Your love to be extended through us.
Amen

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10 thoughts on “February 8 – Your Love Extended

  1. A Latte sounds great about now! Great article! Having served as a full time missionary for a several years, and seen the brutality of the human condition, and now readjusting to life in our own home, bed, with actual food in the refrigerator, we have learned to live sacrificially, as God grants us these incredible blessings. Simply sleeping in a bed with no bugs, having heat, running water, and electricity is mind-blowing after years without these things. I often wonder if our impact for the kingdom was greater during those years, as we suffered, sacrificed, and cried out to God daily for food and basic survival, OR whether the weekly financial offerings we are now able to give do more than our actual presence in places of suffering in the world. Yes, for the price of a latte, you can pretty much feed a hungry child somewhere in the world, and this we do…

    • I have wondered as well if sending money (which is done by many) is going to be applicable to this verse. Seems we can help those in need that live around us if we can’t be ones that go out to faraway lands. And missionary trips with vacation trips included…not so sure those are as they should be either. Perhaps I think too much…
      thanks for living in those conditions to help those you did.

  2. I am perplexed as to why “social justice” is considered by many bible based churches today a false teaching. To me these verses (and others) clearly state that we are invited in because we cared for the least…certainly not salvation but once a follower of Jesus how can we not help those in need. And if it can be done thru our taxes as well as our churches to help more, why would we not.
    Thanks for bringing this to light. Always a good reminder for me.

  3. I think why “social justice” sometimes gets looked upon as a false teaching is how it is presented. There is nothing wrong in helping the destitute or those whom have been denied justice but this help must stand on the foundation of the Gospel. What has happened in numerous instances is that the Gospel gets left behind and the focus being addressed becomes social action. The Christian Church is not a social action association, it is the body of Christ and as such, all work that comes forth from it must be focused on that truth. Just my two cents, no disrespect intended.

    • Social action is just that a social action. A feel good band-aid. It is short lived because Christ is left out. The gospel is the truth eternally, salvation, an answer to every situation.

  4. Thanks BeeJay. Really being there and sharing what that was like is a huge boost to our understanding. There are no easy answers. We are now a “global” society but still locked into our own neighborhoods. God will have mercy upon whom He chooses whether we help the poor or not. But He encourages us to reach out at every opportunity to help those in need. That is our reasonable service. That is what He expects of us.

    No matter where we go, there is always someone who is worse off than we are. There is always some group of people who are oppressed. We can’t help them all. But we can try.

  5. Thank you for the insights – for walking the faith and encouraging others to walk as much as they talk! You’re exactly right, we often think we’re ‘doing enough’ but in the grand scheme we could use taking a step back and asking are we really doing much to impact our local mission field and our global mission field? Thanks for taking the time to share!

  6. Thanks for sharing what God has given you to see. We can help by praying. Prayers changes things. We can do battle for the kingdom on our knees. And we can live kingly minded by living as he lived. Loving compassionately. It is not just the poor, displaced that need us that have the answer Jesus. The lavishly rich are as poor and destitute as those that are on the streets. Christ is the answer to the rich who sit and sip lattes and Christ is the answer to those who have nothing.

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