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My Struggle

April 1, 2008

It happens from time to time. Someone makes a comment and I become frustrated. I have been reading the Bible this morning looking at all of the least of these ideas present in the Bible.

What drives me crazy? What frustrates me? The idea that helping those in need is somehow less important or optional because it is obviously all about saving souls and so unless you can show me where helping those in need has some kind of salvation return on investment then it isn’t important or as important or even really necessary.

Why don’t we just rewrite Jesus response about what one does who has inherited eternal life? That entire Good Samaritan thing is just all jacked up. Maybe we should rewrite the ending where the guy on the road gives his life to Jesus when he returns for a visit.

That is the ticket. Not only does he give his life to Jesus Christ but he also becomes this giant evangelist who saves truckloads of people in tent revivals all around the Mediterranean. Now this parable is really starting to rock. Maybe we could even say that the early church identified the man on the road as Apollos, okay maybe that is a bit much, so it was Polycarp. Now we are talking.

We have gotten past that pointless aid to the stranger and gotten down to what really matters, evangelism.

I’m sorry this is my blog rant for the week. I just don’t understand this idea that helping the poor, widows and orphans is somehow optional, take it or leave it, because we have to have some statistical results of baptisms or something to justify it.

Any thoughts?

If we are going to be a shining light on the hill isn’t that the light we are to shine? If we are gong to love justice isn’t that the justice God desires? If you doubt me I have a truckload of verses that reveal God’s nature.

Why does the very idea cause people to paint you politically? Why can’t it just be God’s idea and what God says and wants? Why isn’t that enough? Why isn’t it us seeking justice as God commands?

I’m sorry but at times I feel like throwing in the towel on this one. Pray for me because today I have to have a discussion with a leader in our church and if I don’t calm down it will not go well.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Nick Gill permalink
    April 1, 2008 5:22 pm

    Dear Darin,

    I know much of how you feel, although being in a position of responsibility must make your frustration even more keenly felt.

    The kingdom of God is… righteousness and joy and peace in the Holy Spirit! If we are to spread the kingdom of God, these are the things we must be promoting.

    Praying for you…

  2. April 1, 2008 7:00 pm

    Nick, I need your help. What would a church look like, how would it talk, focus on etc. for someone with your experience?

    Let me know.

  3. Nick Gill permalink
    April 1, 2008 8:31 pm

    Drop me a line at Darin. Help me understand what you are asking, and I’ll do my best to answer.

  4. Dustin permalink
    April 2, 2008 2:30 am

    Your post really inspired me today.

  5. April 2, 2008 4:38 am

    Wow. I totally understand how you feel and agree with what you are saying. I think Matthew 25:31-46 is pretty telling about how Jesus feels about this issue. He boldly links service to the poor to our salvation! I don’t know how you can read the Gospels and not see that His ministry was wholistic, reconciling people to God, and to one another. Good post! God be with you as you sow these much needed seeds!

  6. Nick Gill permalink
    April 2, 2008 2:44 pm

    Darin,

    Ever since I read a ton of Francis Schaeffer’s writing, I have dreamt of a place like the L’Abri Fellowship but perhaps more egalitarian.

    A community center / soup kitchen / shelter / coffeehouse.

    A place where Christian worship happens all the time, but we don’t have a sign out front that says “Christians worship here!”

    Not because we’re ashamed of Christ, but because so many people have made the name of the Lord a curse rather than a blessing.

    How would it talk? Honestly. Lovingly. Inclusively. The kingdom of God is supposed to be a safe place for the lost and the poor. When you gather around the table with Jesus’ people, you should feel welcome and safe.

    What would it focus on? Publicly we would focus on loving our neighbors. Loving them so much that they might actually ask us about “the hope we have in us”. Privately, we would focus on growing in Christlikeness. Holiness, compassion, fruit of the Spirit, trusting God to work through us.

    I don’t know if this is what you were looking for. I might expand on it over at Fumbling.

  7. April 2, 2008 2:56 pm

    Nick,

    Thanks. That is exactly what I was asking. I just think at times you don’t realize how much you understand. I think you allow those with created fences and hedges to beat you back behind them for fear that you might be wrong.

    It happened to Jesus and he said if it does don’t mind losing a brother over it. Matthew 10:34-39 is great.

    People like to hold on to what they know, what they can get their arms around but Jesus said lose your life so you can find it.

    You have found it, don’t let it go, don’t be pushed back behind the hedges.

  8. Nick Gill permalink
    April 3, 2008 3:51 am

    Your words have been in my head all day. I am so silly sometimes.

    I AM free in Christ! I will not be shackled anymore.

    Jesus sets people free. Jesus eats with the least of these. Jesus shines the light of love into the darkness of sin, whether that sin is sexual immorality or spying out someone’s liberty in Christ Jesus.

    “For am I now seeking the favor of men or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” Gal 1:10

    Thank you, Darin, for loving me enough to hold the mirror up. I won’t forget what I see again.

    in HIS love,
    Nick

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