Isaiah 58. Read it and weep. How many times have I gone to worship because I had to? How many times have I prayed because I wanted something and I wanted it now? How many times have I done everything “right” because I wanted something from God?
I can go to church every time that building is open, teach bible class, pray without ceasing, read scripture constantly, go to countless bible study’s a week, talk to people i meet about Jesus. I can be, by all western accounts, a model Christian, yet according to the Lord through His prophet Isaiah, I will never be heard, I am not His follower, I might as well do none of those “righteous deeds” if I don’t help the helpless.
The Word of the LORD:
“Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”
Isaiah 58:6-12 NASB
Wow. So not only should Christians be doing things like feeding the poor, standing up for those who are oppressed, and housing those in need but, when we do, things will get better. Ever wonder why there’s a bad part of town and a good part of town? May I suggest it’s because Christians aren’t doing enough? Now, let me clarify, if you’re out there with your church family helping the helpless, I am obviously not referring to you or your family of believers. I’m referring to people who think church is a place to punch a time card and go about their business. I’m talking about people, like me, who seem to have this whole Christianity thing figured out but are entirely missing the point. I’m talking about churches who have a missions budget and throw money at a problem but leave the missions to the “true missionaries”. Change doesn’t happen if only some of the body of Christ are working and others are crtisizing that work or “supervising”.
You see, Christ didn’t come for you to follow Him because you were afraid of going to hell or because you thought you had to. No. Christ came for you to have a relationship with Him. To be His hands and feet. And you know what? Christ’s feet and hands were absolutely filthy. Christ was homeless (Matt. 8:20). Christ and His disciples were filthy from being in the desert with no home and only sandles for their feet. Ever seen a mans feet after walking around in Chacos for a week of camp? I have, and let me tell you… THEY ARE DISGUSTING! And yet, even with all that filth and stink, Christ Himself humbly washed the feet of that ragamuffin group of misfit boys. He did so without complaint. He did so without boasting about His humility. He did so without asking for something in return. Christ is not going to shy away from things we find gross, stinky, and filthy. He rolls up His sleeves, takes a rag and some warm water, craddles the mess, and cleans. With a smile on His face. That, my friends, is what being a true follower of Christ is all about.
You’re going to get dirty. You’re going to see things and hear stories you wish you hadn’t. You’re going to be uncomfortable. It’s going to be hard. You might get rude responses and your help turned away. You might get spat on or called names. But… it will be worth it. You won’t go through anything Christ didn’t go through in His pursuit of helping the helpless. So. In the spirit of the Lords example…
I’m done being a pew warmer Christian, are you?