One Thing Remains
ONE THING REMAINS
Last week we talked about The Good Samaritan and how God’s Love compels us to love our neighbor more than ourselves. And today we are living that out by participating Rise against Hunger. Today we will help feed children we may never meet. There is nothing in it for us. We do it out of the abundance of our hearts. Jesus teaches us that our neighbor is not someone who is physically near to us but the one we choose to show mercy to. We must love our neighbor as ourselves. To see revival we must love our neighbor more than ourselves.
Gandhi once said, “be the change you want to see in the world.” And as much good as that man did for India I have to disagree. I tried to be the change I wanted to see in the world, I tried to love others with my own heart, and it wasn’t enough. There was a period in my life I became obsessed with solving the issue of poverty. I have always had a heart for the poor and the oppressed. Perhaps you do as well or you will as you walk with me on our journey. But I burned myself out and after that I moved into a monastery called Richmond Hill to find some sense of balance. I was serving. But I was serving under my own strength. I was giving but I was not giving out of the abundance of my heart. And if we do not have abundance in our hearts to give, we may give of money and physical things, but at the end of the day we are not giving what truly matters, we are not giving of ourselves.
Richard Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline says this about the discipline of service. “ Self righteous service comes through human effort. It expends immense amounts of energy calculating and scheming how to render the service. Sociological charts and surveys are devised so we can “help those people.” True service comes from a relationship with the divine Other deep inside. We serve out of whispered promptings, divine urgings. Energy is expended but it is not a frantic energy of the flesh. Thomas Kelly writes, “I find He never guides us into an intolerable scramble of panting feverishness.” ( Foster, 128).
This quote reminded of the story or Martha and Mary. And indeed in our lives and in our churches perhaps we can be like Martha. We get business done, we run our committees, we do good works, but are we doing what really matters? Faith without works is dead but works that are not directed by the Lord are a dead end. Often people confuse busyness with ministry. Often people confuse singing songs with worship. We feed peoples stomachs but have we fed their souls? We serve in hopes of changing things but maybe we should serve in hopes of being changed ourselves. Because the key to answered prayer is being willing to be changed, and when we are changed through service, God will pour out his love into our hearts, and the world will be changed through His love, not through ours, because our love is not enough. But His love is always enough.
Church, Church, you are anxious and troubled about many things but one thing remains. That we may sit at his feet and rest in His Word. For our Lord has loved us with an undying love and he longs to rebuild us but we must return to him with weeping as we pray (Jeremiah 31). I am your shepherd and I love you. I see the grace in you but you must see the grace in yourselves. For I have lived my life on the belief that God does extraordinary things through ordinary people who are willing to lay their lives down. For man does not live by bread alone but by every Word that comes out of the mouth of God. To serve is to rest at His feet, to hear His word, and to lay down our lives in response. Whatever trials may come but His good portion will not be taken from us. For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flowers of the field. The grass withers, and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord remains forever. (Isaiah 40:6, 1 Peter 1:24)
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.