Move, So People Can See Jesus

Years ago, I was leading a discussion with members of the elder board in the church I was serving, about a new ministry we were considering.   The idea was to serve a home-cooked meal once a week, every week to people in our community.  

The community surrounding our church was much more diverse than we were.  Our neighbors were mostly black and Latino.  Many of them were living below the poverty line.  Some of them were homeless, many of them were first-generation immigrants.

The discussion began well, but it started to turned sour when some of the elders began to voice their concerns.  And then one of the elders said, "Are we sure we want those kinds of people coming to our church?"  

The moment the words left his mouth, I knew that he regretted it.  For my part, I felt a mixture of anger and sadness.  

I was angry to realize just how far we still had to go as a church to actually be the church.  I was also sad that the view of Christianity his comment represented was one that was too reliant on human effort and appearances.  

Today I re-read the story of one of the first ever church council meetings in the New Testament book of Acts.  At question in that meeting was whether or not to welcome Gentiles into the Christian fold without converting to Judaism.  

After all of the arguments and debate, James, the brother of Jesus simply said this:  
“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 
Jesus didn't qualify his disciples before he called them to follow him.  As I preached recently, he just said, "Follow me," and his followers dropped everything and simply learned on the way.  

Bob Goff recently wrote: 
The sad fact is, many of us have lost our way trying to help people find theirs. Arguments won’t change people. Simply giving away kindness won’t either. Only Jesus has the power to change people, and it will be harder for them to see Jesus if their view of Him is blocked by our big opinions.
May you strive today to make it easier for people to find Jesus by getting out of the way so they can see him more clearly.  Let your speech and your actions be covered by God's mercy and love.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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