Monday, April 03, 2006

One of the attributes of my son that I have learned from was his ability to be accepting of anyone, regardless of their circumstances. He did not judge them based on their background or difficulties in life. He saw the good in people, and he pointed it out, and was able to put them at ease, and make them feel comfortable.

At the same time, he clearly saw sin, and was not afraid to confront it. He always did so in love, and let the person know that he struggled with sin issues as well, but that he had found victory over it in Christ.

Additionally, he would tell them how they could come to know this same victory. Clearly this alienated some, but most were interested, whether or not that made a commitment at that moment.

Our own ability to share Jesus with others is often blocked by our own pre-judgments, and/or fears. This same facet is too often reflected in our churches. Though His Word makes it clear we should not favor the rich over the poor, we often cater to those who have, and ignore those who do not. Many of our youth camps or other trips cost too much for many people to even be able to consider participating. Some churches offer scholarships, but even the process of securing them can be demeaning.

I realize there are not always simple answers to some of these issues, but we can each contribute to the solution, by respecting others regardless of their socioeconomic background. We can reach out to people in general, and not turn up our noses at the people who are paying the price of growing up in homes of ignorance (be it financial, social or other). For that matter, some of the most ignorant individuals are those who "have" a great deal.

One such example would be the feeling you get when a gang of motorcycle riders pull up to the restaurant you are dining in. How do you feel? Instantly uneasy. Unsure of what they will do or how they may act, and how you should respond to whatever happens. Fear enters, and can overwhelm. How will you defend yourself or your family against them?

I had that experience this weekend. A crew of 15 to 20 bikers came rolling up. Full leathers, tattoos, long hair, long beards (ZZ Top look-a-likes), etc. They were a sight you would not soon forget. Their arrival commanded attention.

You know what? They were bikers for Christ... "Bondslaves Motorcycle Club." They were some of the most genuine and precious believers I have encountered. No false pretense, no act... just followers of Christ not afraid to talk about Him. Yes they attract attention when they enter any zip code, but they point to Christ with what they say and do!

To love people as Christ loved the church takes us far outside our normal pathways in life. Caring for others regardless of ethnicity, class, or other areas of social prejudice must become part of our prayer life. For what you seek God for, often becomes an area of ministry. Don't do it unless you mean it, because God will bring opportunities your way.

In many respects, the evidence of your prayer life is reflected in how committed you are to the Lord, and/or by how you are ministering to others. The people around you notice, and they will often ask you questions, as it is foreign to them because they are often of the world and not just in it.

You have something to offer that they desperately need. The Word says to "always be prepared to give a reason" for this. I Praise God for a young man who was. He has taught me much.

dad

10 Comments:

At 9:21 AM, Blogger brobrad said...

Brent, as you say there is often this inverse relationship between the amount the recipient has and what we glean from our giving - finding a large sense of fulfillment from sharing with those who have nothing to offer in return.

How often though I have found myself spending much more time trying to win the attention or favor of someone who has much greater influence or material wealth. Unless what I am sharing with them is Christ, it is a very hollow victory at best if I finally win that attention.

Oh that we would in fact spend our time reaching out to the spiritual needs of others regardless of appearances, status, or any prejudgements on our part; it is too easy to talk myself out of sharing for any number of reasons -all of them rationalizations of some sort.

Hope that you have a good day,

Brad

 
At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good morning Brent and Deanna,

Your post this morning reminded me of an incident a couple of years ago, in which I was not prepared to answer the inquisitor's question:

I had been sharing with an employee of mine (a young mother who had grown up in another religion) about our upcoming mission trip to Mexico. After awhile, she asked me,"So why is it that you do this??" I knew that she wasn't a Christian, and didn't want to sound "preachy," so I said something about helping people with physical needs, and sharing God's love with them. Boy, did that start me to thinking: Why exactly WAS I doing this??? I realized how foreign it is to nonChristians to see a dedication to Christ and reaching others...she just couldn't comprehend why we would do such a thing! I was reminded that our responsibilities as the hands and feet of God are incredible, as are the blessings when we actually BECOME His hands and feet.

Anyway, my eyes were opened, and my commitment, resolve, and surrender to missions has been heightened. Maybe one day we can share together in a foreign mission experience...

Love, Jolene

 
At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger Nic and Jen said...

As I was reading this, I instantly thought of a group of men and women in our church. We have small life groups in our church. They are small groups that meet weekly. We have a fairly large church making it somewhat difficult to get to know one another. A man in our church has a "Jesus bike." I mean, a Harley decked out for Jesus. He started a life/ministry group of other bikers, and they travel spreading the news of Christ. It is really neat!

It is often that we judge by appearance, whether clothing, looks, finanaces, you name it. I have struggled with this. We sometimes cannot afford for our son to do all the things we want. We struggle to come up with the money for camp in the summer. Also, we have a small duplex. Our daughter has made friends with some girls from the preschool at our church, and I often find myself saying to the other mom when they are bringing their child over to play "oh, our house is very small, nothing like yours" and you know what? I have felt embarrassed about this before. Then my great awesome Christ loving friend, told me "I don't care if your house is small, it does not matter one bit to me!" I was so nervous because my daughter had been to play over there, and their house is a mansion compared to ours. Others times though, we have been judged.

I have even been in the judgement seat as well, and have had to repent for that as well. Sometimes I find myself wanting the friends who "seen to have it all together" and then I come to find out... well some of the people who I would have least expected.... have an awesome relationship with our Creator.

Anyhow... my daughter is waking up now (it is only 7:39 over here on the West Coast) so I am going to have to cut this short. But your post today was very touching. I pray that all of us will be like Christ, loving everyone regardless of their circumstances.

Jennifer WA

 
At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Brittany Di Salvo said...

Praise God. I can remember more than one time when BJ showed Christ's love when I was doing something I shouldn't have. He not only showed love, but he was encouraging, uplifting, and willing to listen when I was at my lowest. Thank you for this post. Like many other ones it has inspired me to be more transparent.

love you all

 
At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Brent and Deanna,
What a blessing to read each day what the Lord places on your heart. I am continually encouraged by your writings and the messages from other bloggers. Many thanks to you all.

It was exciting and meaningful to get to spend a few days with y'all last week! Thanks for putting me up and putting up with me. It was great to see Lauren, Whitney, Brad, Lynae and the whole family there. Marti, I have your address and will mail this week a CD of photos. I'm sorry we did not get a chance for a proper "good-bye" but it was a pleasure to meet you and visit with you.

What an honor, Brent, to witness your ordination. I know you feel affirmed by your brothers and sisters, as well you should! God has called, and you and Deanna are stepping forward to follow in faith. What a tremendous example and picture for all of us.

Blessings and cheers!
Love y'all bundles,

Dan
Deer Park, TX

 
At 1:14 PM, Anonymous Susie said...

Of late I have been challenged to just see people through God's eyes. Every person I see, at the store, the airport, wherever to look at them and realize that Christ suffered and died for them. It forces me to see them differently. I too am quick to form an opinion based on the physical. But God is asking me to look beyond the physical. It has been and continues to be a challenging experience. Thanks for sharing your experience.

 
At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is exciting and yes, sometimes terrifying to be called out of our "comfort zone" and minister to our Lord. I have been praying rather extensively for God to use me in ministry of some sort. A young lady (who had just recently been saved)and who is a stranger, is now coming to live with us because she has no home to go to. You wrote "don't do it unless you mean it because God will bring opportunities your way." was an answer to us doing the right thing. I had also just opened my Bible last night to a verse that ended with "I will be coming to stay at thy house." The story of how we met this young lady and people we hadn't seen for years has been such an awesome story of God using other people in such out of the way places. What an exciting life we live when we know the Savior.
Brenda

 
At 4:46 PM, Anonymous kristin dutt said...

hey guys--

I praise Him for BJ too..everyday. i had to privilege of seeing Dave this weekend..it was good to just sit and talk about Beej w/him..someone who gets it.

I love you guys..missing you and him always.

~kristin

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger Praying in Pink said...

In this case, a popular saying rings true: They won't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

I struggle to find the balance in this as in other areas of my life. It seems so easy to minister on one "side" or the other--meet physical needs or spiritual ones--but not combine the two.

Have you noticed? Jesus always saw the WHOLE person, even when that individual tried to get Him to focus on just one area of need. I think BJ demonstrated Christlikeness in his ability to reach beyond immediate to underlying concerns.

Father, help me do the same--to not ignore what YOU want to speak into a person's life through me. Thank You that You created such a variety of people! Brent is right--so often we do just the opposite of what James teaches: we honor the one with the gold ring or the fine clothes and ignore the poor, the unshaven, the leather-jacketed.

Help us to truly understand that when we minister even unto the least of these, we're genuinely ministering unto YOU. You demonstrated this same principle in your humble life and lowly death as well as in your exalted resurrection and throne on high!

in Your Name that is above all names,

AMEN

Marti
Charleston, SC

(Dan, the blessing was mine. . . thanks so much.)

 

Post a Comment

<< Home