Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Obedience to Him Alone

There has been, in recent years, a growing movement to care for the needy, to serve God by serving and loving and providing for them. Countless Christians are stepping up to do unbelievable acts of obedience such as adopting sibling groups and older kids who arrive home with lots of emotional baggage.  They may not have the thousands of dollars it requires to bring these kids home, but many of them have friends who do and who gladly fund their journey to their children.

If everyone sold everything they had and lived just above poverty level, who would fund the missionaries and adoptive families and those raising money to help the widowed and sick?  God intended us to live with open to giving and receiving.  This stage of life may find us on one end of that spectrum, but a few years from now we may be on the opposite end of that spectrum.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.   Phil 4:12

Is it wrong to save money for the future when there are people starving around the world?  If your children have a college fund, are you robbing from the poor?

If so, then what do we do with passages like this?

Proverbs 13:22
A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.

Luke 16:9
I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

Think about it, please.  We have to be so careful about Pharisaically piling new rules upon each other.  Our walk with God will differ from one person, one life to another.  The needs of the world are so great, but our desire to help must be motivated by a heart that stands upright before the Lord.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.  Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.  Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.”  He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.  “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
John 12:1-7

We have to do exactly what He calls us to do out of love and devotion to Jesus Christ, period.  He alone is worthy.  If we do it out of a desire to be “part of a movement” or to be seen as one of those who “get it” then our righteous acts are as filthy rags in the sight of God.  (Isaiah 64:6)  Ministry "cliques" are dangerous.  
Even among adoption circles there are cliques!  For instance:
You are judged by which country you chose to adopt from.  (Why adopt internationally when there are so many kids in the US?  Why adopt domestically where kids at least get fed when there are millions dying of starvation in other countries?)
You are judged by whether you brought home an infant or older child.
You are judged by whether or not your child has special needs or HIV.
You are judged by whether your adopted child looks like you or is of a different race.

Do you see what I am saying here?  We cannot ALL do EVERYTHING.  But we CAN do exactly what we are CALLED to do.  If we adopt, or foster, or whatever we do in our own strength we will FAIL.  The Christian life is not a club.  God calls us to sacrifice our comfort and even our future dreams for the sake of His calling on our lives.  Whether the sacrifice is financial, physical, emotional, or all of the above we answer to the Lord, not to those who have decided what “today's hot Christian issue” is.  In the eyes of our Father who sees all, they are all “hot issues.”  We are the body of Christ and if each part of the body stepped up and obeyed their calling then I do believe the needs of the world's poor and hurting would be greatly reduced and God, not us and certainly not a movement, would get all of the glory.

Legalism is wrong, even when it appears to be beneficial on a surface level.  If we guage our relationship with God by any means apart from faith in Jesus Christ alone, we are bound by legalism and walking on unsteady ground.

You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.
1 Cor. 7:23

1 comment:

  1. THANK YOU again. One of the difficult parts of our adoption process so far is being made to feel like we have to justify our adoption parameters--parameters we set with much prayer and consideration. Not by our agency, who is very understanding, but just by others. I am trying prayerfully to prepare myself, also, for the judgement that will come AFTER our placement because are new children ARE this or AREN'T that.


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