Monday, February 13, 2017
Some big hearted folks shout,
“No wall! We welcome all, even those who hate us. Free housing. Free food stamps. Free schooling. Free transportation. Free medical care. It’s the Christian thing to do.”
Slogans written or shouted don’t cost much when the bill is paid by someone else. However the shout of, “Let all of the immigrants come in!” quickly fades when the government says, “We will put a family of 6 to 8 in your home and you will be responsible for feeding, clothing, transporting, and paying for their needs, even medical care.” Then the rewritten slogan becomes, “It’s okay if someone else does it, but NOT me!” Doesn’t Jesus tell us that if someone takes your coat, give him your cloak also? (Matthew 5:40; Luke 6:29)? If someone asks you for something, aren’t you supposed to hand it over (Matthew 5:42)? Isn’t that the Christian thing to do! But, we don’t do it, do we? We want someone else to pay for the Christian thing to do!
As thousands come across the Rio Grande, shouldn’t you and I be there to welcome them each day with prepared food, ice tea, and medical assistance, all out of our pocket? Is such a request crazy? Isn’t it the Christian thing to do? Don’t we believe in practicing what we preach? Slogans written or shouted are cheap until it upsets OUR home, SPENDS our money, TAKES UP OUR time, and RUINS OUR plans! We are very generous when we put the burden on the rich, pontificating, “Let them pay for it!” That’s how we relieve ourselves of all responsibility! Read all those instructions given by Jesus and see if he gives an exemption to special people. He doesn’t, does he?
Some preachers eloquently inform their audiences that “We need to save the world”! However, few see that need as did Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderain when they went to convert the Huaorani people in Ecuador in 1956. Few Christian women would consider doing what Elisabeth, Jim’s widow, or Rachel, Nate’s sister did after their loved one was murdered. We criticize Mother Teresa’s faith, but we excuse ourselves from serving the poor and diseased as she did for 47 years. Wasn’t she doing “the Christian thing”?
If one reads the slogans and hears the shouts and compares them with the action, too often it is the very few who are active while the majority wave their signs and make their noise. Is that really the Christian thing?
It isn’t wrong to want to help people. It isn’t wrong to encourage the congregation to teach the Good News to the lost. It is true that one person cannot do it all. It is true that one person may be blessed with abilities that another does not possess. But, some have a tendency to go to extremes in what they expect of others, while lowering the standard of what is expected of themselves.
Back in the early eighties, we had two attempted break-ins at our home. One attempt was made while my wife and youngest son were there. When he went off to college and I was going to be out of town, a pacifist friend, living next door, told my wife to call him if someone tried breaking in. My wife thanked him for his concern and help, then asked, “What would you do, quote the Bible to him?” When someone is intent on molesting and murdering, you don’t turn the other cheek. Jesus told the apostles to buy a sword! Not as a souvenir, but to defend themselves (Luke 22:36). You don’t invite someone to live in your home who is an escaped murderer! You don’t go out and invite people off the street to come live with you and you will pay all their bills. People may be poor and need help, but not even Jesus healed everyone (John 5:1-9). When an expensive perfume was used, Jesus didn’t rebuke Mary for wasting it on him when it could have been sold to help the poor (John 12:3-8).
Jesus fed 5,000 men and later 4,000. Yet, he didn’t invite them to follow him because their stomachs growled with hunger, nor because his way was minus any walls (Matthew 14:21; 15:38). Jesus’ kingdom is opened to everyone, but not everyone is qualified to enter. There are specific requirements for citizenship. There is a lifestyle required. There are limits to be respected. Some do not gladly receive his teachings. They don’t consider his doctrine to be Good News. God loves them and Jesus died for them, but they prefer to be gods themselves rather than bow to Him. Yet, in spite of being rejected, cursed, belittled, and blasphemed, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He freely gave himself that we might be free! His way is the Christian thing to do!