It has grieved my spirit and saddened my heart to see that there is so much hurt inside the church. What is causing so much pain to those who sit in its pews? Why does this hurt exist amongst the children of God? From pew to pew, from aisle to aisle, sit the wounded and broken at heart. The feeling of rejection and loneliness consume them in the house of the Lord. This ought not to be. I say this because it is true not because I want to judge or criticize.
There is a scripture that cautions us to “know those who labor among [us]”; I caution that we should also know those who are wounded among us. Shouldn’t we, the elect of God, know when our sisters and brothers in Christ are in need?
Why can’t we discern our sister’s and brother’s hurt when they’re sitting right beside us? What is it that blinds us to another’s pain? Are we part of the many whose love has “waxed cold”? These hard questions are wince-worthy but they must be asked. If the love of God abides in us then logic suggests so should His compassion. Our Savior was and is a God of compassion. The life of Christ exemplifies this. He was not concerned about Himself; he was a people person. His thoughts, his actions, his purpose was solely to seek and save the lost!
From the beginning of his earthly ministry to its end, Jesus was never concerned about what people could do for Him, rather he was consumed by, impassioned by, his need to do for others. Jesus Christ discerned the needs of the people and met them accordingly whether they were: spiritual, emotional, psychological or physical. Our heavenly Father met them all and he expects no less from us. Jesus finished his work on earth before ascending to Heaven but he told the disciples ‘greater works than these will you do’ – he tasked them to add thou to it and we, inheritors of the Promise, are tasked to do the same! We were made caretakers over God’s vineyard. We are now his hands when we feed the hungry; his feet when we visit the sick; his ears when we lend a listening ear to a burdened soul; his eyes when we discern their needs; his voice when we speak comfort to the broken hearted and we are his arms when we embrace another with His love!
Do you know, for some the love we show them is the only love they have ever known? Dear hearts how can we minister to the spiritual needs of the lost if we don’t even take the time to introduce ourselves to them or to offer a simple smile in acknowledgement of their presence? How can we exhibit the love of God when we’re too busy talking to someone in our clique or our circle of friends to give a soul in the need the time of day? How can we notice the look of sadness in our brother’s or sister’s eyes if we’re too caught up with our problems and our own concerns? Oh yes, there is pain in the pews.
Just think, you or I may be the one our Lord wants to use to bring healing to a hurting soul but can’t because we’re oblivious to the move of his spirit and oblivious to others around us. This is why no spirit-filled person should allow themselves to become a part of church-cliques or have a respect-of-person mentality. To have this mindset is a sin before God. Jesus did not have respect for one person above another nor should we!
James 2:1-4 (NIV):
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
This scripture applies to the pulpit, the bench warmers and the door greeters, none are exempt. Although God did not call all to preach he has called all of us to minister; to attend to the needs of others. This is our ministerial obligation. This is our duty as the chosen people of God. We are to be saints, taking on the character of our heavenly Father in the form of love, humility and compassion.
Let us examine our hearts today and be honest with ourselves. If we are guilty of having respect of persons or being clique-followers let us make a stand today! Quit the cliques and follow in the ways of the Lord. Thus we can fulfill our God-given ministry and see God work in our lives. He will bless us more than we could have ever thought or dreamed possible.
Petition him concerning the part of the body Jesus wants you to represent in order to bring healing, comfort and deliverance to those who are suffering. Are you acting as his eyes, his hands and feet? It’s not for me to answer these questions for you, I only want to encourage you dear hearts to ask them of yourself and of God. I leave you with this to ponder:
Matthew 25:33-40 (NIV):
He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Be blessed dear hearts, I pray that the pain stops and the love grows and that we all fulfill the calling of the Lord.