Behold my servant, whom I uphold, 

   my chosen in whom my soul delights;

I have put my Spirit upon him; 

   he will bring forth justice to the nations.

Isaiah 42: 1

God is not just a distant observer. He sees and He feels. He hears our pleas for mercy, and His heart is broken by the cruel and calculating way that we deny that desired mercy to our world’s oppressed and disadvantaged people. Our planet sees very little grace and even less love, and we are all diminished because of our self-centered and God-denying ways of thinking about others and of acting toward them. Too many people live their lives in active pursuit of isolation and with hearts set on protection from pain and loss. Throughout history individuals have listened to God’s call to see people differently and to attempt to lead us into peace and understanding. Yet, our world is probably worse off today as regards our care for and about others than it ever has been.

Listening to God and allowing Him to move us to action is not only a good thing; it is the right thing to do. When we feed the starving, protect the weak, provide shelter to the homeless, and champion justice for those who are voiceless; we are responding to the expressed desire of God’s heart. Still, very little changes in our world. The pain and the suffering of people throughout the world does not end. Hope continues to elude our grasp, and it is easy to give up on efforts at bringing relief to the victims of strife and commerce. In the face of it all, God says, “Behold My servant.”

There is only one answer to all of the sadness and the pain of life in our world. This is different from the way that we usually see things. For our human tendency is to make the cause the focus. We devise programs for feeding and for housing. We cry out for justice, and we speak stridently in favor of laws that would protect the right of the unborn to draw breath. Again, these are not bad things to become engaged in. However, they are not the cause, and the best of results in each and every one of these areas of concern is not what God desires to see. Every noble cause that people can devise finds its true strength and effectiveness as it is subordinate to Christ. The desired outcome of all of these efforts should be His proclamation in our world. The only hope for lasting justice is found in Christ. Regardless of the nobility of the cause, Christ must be the focus and He must reign over it all. When Christ’s name is the banner that we follow, His justice, mercy, and peace will be known in our world.      

For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.

Mark 3: 35

 

Jesus is saying something that is very simple on its surface; yet, it is a powerful thought to contemplate. This idea changes the nature of most of our relationships, for it radically alters the idea of family. The usual way of defining family connections is replaced by a greatly expanded one, and this new definition greatly extends the circle of people to whom we each have a responsibility for loving care, concern, and involvement. However, it also brings each of us into intimate relationship with this same circle of support. The nature of life is such that we will all have needs that others can join us in meeting, and we are assured that we will, in turn, be the ones who enter into the lives of others when they are weak, broken, and hurting.

 

When we look into the eyes of others who know Christ, we are looking into the eyes of our closest relatives. The heart of faith that is supplied by the blood of the Spirit of Christ circulates life through the bodies and pushes eternity through the spirits of everyone who follows Christ. We are connected in ways that no natural, blood relative can be without Christ. We should know each other in a manner that is profoundly deep and that makes living in peaceful communion with them a real possibility. Although there will be differences in point of view, and we do need to be very open in discussing the ways that we see the Lord’s will applied to life, in Christ we possess the resources that we need to be able to resolve these differences with love, respect, and humble submission to Christ and to each other.

 

The distinctive qualities and the differences in perspective that are found in such a diverse group of people as this newly defined family brings together will cause the group to be stronger. God’s design for creation intended that all people would stand together in ruling this world, for we would each utilize the gifts that He gives to us to their fullest and freest extent, and we would share them completely with each other so that the sum of us would be much greater than any one alone could ever be. In Christ, we are inside of the new creation that God has ordained to bring restoration to this world. We are called to resolve our differences, to value our distinctive natures, to rejoice in the various gifts that others possess, and to stand as one family of faith that serves Christ with arms locked in the embrace of love that is true family.

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully.

2 Corinthians 9: 6

 

This is a discussion about money and what we do with it. It is also a statement that applies to the things that we own, and it speaks to our attitude toward our time. Mostly, this is a comment on the way that we view other people, their needs, and our own sense of security in our relationship with Christ. He gave everything for us. Christ lived a life in which He took on our pain and suffering while demonstrating the depths of God’s loving compassion for His people. While doing this He continually looked to the Father and trusted Him to supply all wisdom, direction, and the resources that were needed.

 

Even with Christ’s example in mind, it is not always so easy to actually believe that God will supply me with everything that I need. So, holding everything that I have, including my money, prized possessions, and time, in fully open hands is not all that natural an act for me. It is even harder to risk exposing my heart to others in a manner that makes me vulnerable. Still, all of this is what God has given to me. He gives completely, absolutely, and without reservation for everything of significance that I have comes from His generosity. Most importantly, Christ gives me His heart, and in doing this, He changes mine from one that seeks to protect itself from exposure to pain and loss to a heart that can more openly share God’s love with others.

 

When we give we don’t get to control the return; yet, the more we give, the more we are acting like our Lord. The more open we are with our love, mercy, compassion, and understanding, the more we are transformed into the image of Christ. God’s direction for our lives is not easy, but it is simple. He wants us to openly and willingly reach out to all who are needy, all who are thirsty, and all who are alone. Then, He wants us to give everything that we have to meet those needs while fully trusting Him to continue to provide us with all that we will ever require for life.