.....ALL WE NEED IS LOVE....
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (Romans 15:1 ESV)
This week, I begin a verse by verse look at a wonderful chapter of Scripture which will accomplish two things:
- Bring Hope to Others
- Bring Strength to Us.
Many of us live by the Westminster Confession of Faith which says "the Chief End of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever". I can launch into 15 sermons on that alone because it is so rich, it will cause your spiritual heart to explode with joy unspeakable at our God Incredible! Amen!
This leads me to the Greatest Commandment, according to the Lord Jesus, which is "Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, and all your soul and all your might"! Moving on, Romans 15, for the most part, is similar to a farewell love letter from the Apostle Paul, who is exhorting us to be like Christ. We are called here to be the Example of Christ...to love like Christ, Who said that the Second Greatest Commandment was to "love your neighbor as yourself".
These two Greatest Commandments are the fulfillment of the Law, from the Lawgiver, Who demonstrated that love in EVERYTHING He did and said...even unto the Cross!
Therefore, if we say we love God, we have to love our neighbor - there is no other way. So, unlike what Cain told God, we really are our brother's keeper as we see in Romans 15:1 where the following is obvious:
A. We have a moral and ethical responsibility to assist a family member, friend or a complete stranger in their time of distress and need. In some cases, we even have a legal duty to pull someone out of the soup. What sort of Christian will see his or her unemployed neighbor down the street with five small kids, hungry and cold....walk by them in church or on the street and then say to them "I'm praying for you"??!!!
The answer is too many of us! First of all, when somebody says "they're praying for you", most times oft, they ain't! Secondly, what's stopping you from sharing half of your Sunday pot roast with that family, or buying them a bag of groceries AND checking frequently or rounding up some warm winter clothes for them in December? Nothing!
But it is not just the basics. If we can assist someone because we, or someone we know, have expertise in electrical, or mechanical or even medical etc...nothing is really stopping us from connecting someone who is in dire need of such a service! This may well be a Divine Appointment, set up by God, not just to help that person, but to test your own character... especially, if you keep telling people at Bible Conferences, as they pat you on the back, that "your Chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever"!!!! Ouch!
B. We have an self-defeating or lower opinion sometimes of ourselves, than God has! We never know how much more we are capable of until we really dig in and BOOM...we see all the blossoms bloom in beauty and doors fling open and then opportunity after opportunity to assist with or minister to others, present themselves. If we have that "Chief End" in mind and then comprehend that God has given us EVERY SINGLE THING we need to live - from His Word to His Spirit - there is no way, we will ignore the weaker among us.
This realization will lead to a burning, a desire, a fire within us to please others rather than ourselves! Think about that! Why do we work, apart from paying our mortgages, utilities and car loans? We work to provide for our families and ensure our beautiful children have the best life we can give them. Along the way, we are a basically good and charitable people. There is no country like America when disaster strikes anywhere in this world, even in these tough times.
I led the opening prayer and invocation at an orphan banquet two weeks ago - In His Hands Orphans Outreach - a ministry I have been involved with since 2007 and watched as my friends' visions went from providing blankets and heaters to orphanages in China (and then adoption of some of the kids), to just less than five years later - having a presence in five countries! Yes, I said FIVE COUNTRIES - China, Uganda, Philippines, Haiti and Kenya as well as locally here in Illinois. These are just ordinary working folks like you and I, led by a fearless young mom with six kids! How about that?!
Being this ministries unofficial chaplain since it was fully organized, I can tell you that nothing came about without the Holy Spirit, prayer, the Word of God and many people walking in the Truth, with love. My friend Michelle, who runs In His Hands, out of her home with a small board of directors now, is living proof we don't need a large ministry or building or all the money on K Street or Wall Street....all we need is love...and love right here....on Main Street!
GLORY TO GOD!