In many respects, Christianity today has become all about me at the expense of reaching out to you. We go to church to meet our needs, we spend hours worrying about all of our woes and we constantly add to the catalog of excuses for not being able to give, serve or reach out in love to others in need. In other words, we are so consumed with ourselves that we have no time, energy or resources for anyone else. This, unfortunately, describes selfishness to a T. How truly sad it is that the Christian faith which is built on love for God and others has descended into a state of fretting and worrying about ourselves.
My heart breaks for those who have invested all of their life, their life's savings and their personal freedom to serve Christ; only to suffer unspeakable poverty because God's people are too weak or selfish to give. In 2 Corinthians 8, the Apostle Paul uses the believers in Macedonia to inspire the Corinthians to rise up and give more instead of finding excuses for giving less. Please look at 2 Corinthians 8:1-5:
Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God which hath been given in the churches of Macedonia;
2how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
3For according to their power, I bear witness, yea and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord,
4beseeching us with much entreaty in regard of this grace and the fellowship in the ministering to the saints:
5and this, not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God
American Standard Version (ASV)
That which made the Macedonian churches so great was their willingness to abundantly share of their monetary gifts and of themselves even though they were going through a time of deep poverty and affliction. The Macedonian believers refused to allow circumstances to inhibit their ability to give. In fact, despite their poverty and affliction verse 2 speaks of, they continued to gave LIBERALLY. The feeblest excuse in the book is that we cannot afford to give. The truth of the matter is that we cannot afford NOT to give. Allowing circumstances to stop us from giving is equivalent to waving the white flag of surrender at the adversary while acknowledging he has defeated us.
Let's be brutally honest for a moment. D oes it really make any difference to God how much stuff we accumulate in this life? Does it really make any difference in the eternal scheme of things how great of a job we held in this life? Does it really make any difference to Jesus Christ that we look good, have buff bodies or are universally liked by everyone? Honestly, does anything in this life really matter except pleasing God and doing His will?
Many of us are literally fighting for our physical, mental, financial and spiritual lives right now. Many of us are battling cancer and other devilish diseases. Many of us are in the midst of seemingly hopeless and emotionally draining situations. Many of us waver on the brink of physical, emotional, financial or spiritual disaster; where one bad move could send us tumbling down the mountainside. Many of us are facing personal Goliaths that appear ten stories high and unbeatable. Many of us are tired and weary from fighting the daily battles of life.
It behooves all of us, regardless of whatsoever state we are in, to never allow the intensity of our personal battles to hinder our ability and willingness to give of what we have and of ourselves. No matter how bad things may be for any of us, I guarantee you there is some Christian brother or sister somewhere in the world who is in the midst of a far worse battle that we are. We must always remember that no matter how dark it gets and no matter how hard things become, we ALWAYS have something to give as long as we draw breath in this life. Even if we are thrown in prison, we can still pray. Even if we become homeless and live on the street, we can still pray. Even if we are lying on our deathbed, we can still pray. We always have something to give if we refuse to allow tribulation, affliction, persecution or poverty to intimidate us or talk us out of our willingness to give.
Willingness, liberality, and giving are the "perfect" tags for this blog, Kirk; three very important voluntary acts of Christianity that we must keep in mind and allow to govern us; because it is as you wrote: "No matter how bad things may be for any of us, I guarantee you there is some Christian brother or sister somewhere in the world who is in the midst of a far worse battle that we are."
I love this blog, because of its brutal honesty coupled with the fact that it has been written by one who has suffered intense suffering and has learned and is applying "vital" spiritual wisdom that is creating within you a beautiful Christ likeness; and the more you share these nuggets of wisdom with us -- the more insightful we can become in learning and applying the beauty of His likeness to our everyday lives.
You are correct !
Great blog and well needed for today !
Today many people are homeless and children are living in the street and all the people can say is do something with yourself but whatever it is just get out of my sight because you make me look bad, all they think about is their lives their families their property value and even when the poor people are trying to do something right like coming to you and asking to work for you and do something to earn money people are turning them away and then calling the police department and stopping them from asking for work .
It is sad that people are not willing to help the poor but then add they insult by calling the police department . I help as much as possible any person who may come to my door seeking to feed themselves or their families and even if it's a few dollars it can help and I even save my can's and give to the poor man who spends all day looking for those can's.
The old saying is out of sight out of mind people think that just because they don't see the poor then they don't have to deal with them or feel that they are an eye sore . I once had lived on the street myself and I know what it is like and how people are heartless at times and looking down upon you and thinking to themselves that you could do something for yourself and they try and justify themselves by saying you deserve to be that way because of this or that and never once consider to help in any way .
I was naked and you gave me not the clothing from your back ,I was hungry and you gave me not even the scarap from your plate ,I was a thirst and you gave me guilt and not a cup of cold water .
You got me asking,Where is the Love ?
And if I must ask ,what does that tell you ?
Be forever blessed
I agree with Barbra.
When we are faced with struggles, our instinct is to circle the wagons so to speak and shut out the world. However, I know that in my own life when I resist that temptation and actually move beyond my own pain in order to minister to others in even the smallest of ways, something interesting happens within me. My circumstances may have not changed but it definitely has become lighter. Despair and anxiety give way to joy and hope. I think it is because we have become Christ-centered rather than self-centered and that changes everything.