Sunday, July 03, 2005
This Is Not "Apples" & "Oranges" It's About People!
Let us begin with the church today, after all, it's Sunday and the services this morning are still fresh in our minds. There are churches that tend to offer ministry within the safe confines of their membership, and outreach is limited to "distant" places that are okay, because the people we are helping we don't have to ever sit next to. I suppose that this is not "bad" but it isn't "great" because we are called to stand forth in our communities of faith and feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the imprisoned. That gets very uncomfortable for some folks, and I understand their position, I would just like them to understand my Savior's guidelines as they were established by God's Word. Here is another illustration in which you may find some correlation. About ten years ago we had a new couple join our local HOG group. He had ridden for years, and the two of them had decided to get a brand new Harley to enjoy together. Their first year's membership in the group was free so they began to attend meetings. Both of them were from the $100,000 plus per year category of income. Everything about them was brand new and the "best" you could buy. I enjoyed talking with both of them and even teased her about the salon nails and the hair changes she would be making for the riding season. Others in our group viewed them as "outsiders" and remained quite cold to this new couple. They stayed for about two years and then sold the Harley and found something else to get "into." Not because they didn't like what we were about, but because they really couldn't be a part of it. A few years and they would have understood that a HOG gala event at Christmas time was not a premier opening of an art gallery. That isn't the point. The thing is, you and I have to be willing to reach out in fellowship to everyone, without thought to what they're wearing or their income status. It goes both ways! Affluent people can be shunned as quickly as anybody else. Our job is to get past that and welcome "everyone" with open arms if we are the church. And as we consider the country that by God's grace we have been fortunate to be born a part of, it is doubly important that we recall with humility our origins. This country, unlike any other in the world, was founded on freedom for everyone! The people who began settling it were the religious outcasts of European cultures and the "bottom of the barrel" types that worked hard, fought harder and made a place for themselves. Celebrate the 4th of July and when it's over start really looking for ways to use the freedom that has cost( and continues to cost)so much. Liberty for all! In Christ's Love, Preacher.