Thursday, November 20, 2008

I had the pleasure of listening to a lengthy sermon on a friend’s blog last night. It was a two hour sermon addressed to Pastors urging them to get back to putting first things first. He covered 10 issues he felt were pressing needs in the church today. I had to agree with him on all of his points, and it was encouraging to hear.
That being said, he did neglect what I consider to be an important element.
Let me begin by saying; if I were in a position to talk for two hours (not likely) there are some things that I would certainly not want to overlook. In this entire two hour sermon he did not once mention the plight of the oppressed, nor the world’s poor, nor the plight of the children being kidnapped and used as child prostitutes. In fact, the entire topic of charitable work never once came up.

As I was reading in Luke chapter 8 and 9 this morning, I found Jesus always busy about the Kingdom and all through the chapters he never neglected to stop and minister to the poor, the diseased and sick. When he sent the disciples out He gave them power and authority to drive out demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

This ever present compassion was pervasive in Christ’s earthly ministry.
I believe His heart was ever aware of the entire needs of mankind and be it a woman in a crowd that He never even looked upon, but knew of her faith and need, to the raising of Jairus’s daughter from the dead, he burned inside with love for mankind and as important as saving man from sin, offering eternal life in the next world, He never missed an opportunity to place his healing touch on some poor sufferer in this world.
So, when I assess a man and his ministry, I look for this compassion of Christ to spill over and season his entire ministry. If it is lacking or not mentioned at all,
I know some key ingredient is missing. Christ summarized his priorities on two occasions by saying - love God in holiness and love your neighbor. And also - Seek justice, mercy and faithfulness without neglecting the other things.
I felt he was unfaithful to the poor by neglecting them and had this burned within him like the other issues he spoke to, and with great passion I might add, then I would have been greatly encouraged. But it was not so. How can that be?
Photo by Tous Les Noms


fcb4 said...

What were the other issues he mentioned?

FCB said...

What were the other ten? I can't remember one out of three from a thirty minute sermon, how could I ever remember 10 in two hours? :)
I put the link below, but I don't think he covered anything you haven't. I'm sure you would like it.
Love Dad

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred :)

You have very correctly pointed out what is missing in the modern day Christians.

Charity, compassion, kindness, helpfulness to the poor, sick, suffering, downtrodden and oppressed.

This sad state of affairs have grown to such huge proportions that now even preachers don't talk about it. This crucial element in Christianity has been completely ignored.

Christ worked among the poor. He helped them by providing food when they were hungry, he cured their sickness and it was the poor who followed him everywhere and listen to him with rapt attention. On the other hand rich people criticized him, found fault with him, laughed and mocked at him and finally crucified him.

Most of his disciples were poor illiterate people. They went about preaching His message inspite of opposition, lived on peoples charity and many of them died a miserable death at the hands of rich unbelievers.

Look at the state of affairs now. No one wants to undertake charity directly by themselves. They think that donating some money here and there irrespective of the fact whether that money is being utilised wisely and to alleviate the sufferrings of the poor and sick or not, they think they have done their Christian duty.

It is the poor people who supported Christ and helped Christianity to grow.

Therefore, if we don't undertake some direct charity work on our own dependig upon our ability and availabity of funds, we are not fulfilling our Christian calling.

If we go about thinking that each one for himself and God for all,the growth of Christianity in the world will seriously suffer and even deteriorate.

Mother Teresa did not work for the rich. She worked for the poor.

The faster this realisation dawns upon us the better and preachers who are guiding Christians have a big responsibility. If they don't even talk about helping the poor and downtrodden, they are clearly failing in their duty.

Many thanks for the great post. It opened the flood gates of my thoughts.

Best wishes :)

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
Your post is an inspiration to me and I think you put it so well. I can't tell you how many times over the years I have heard someone say, "if you feed someone you help them live for another day, but if you preach Jesus to them they will live eternally, so what value is it to do works of charity?"
I guess they will have to ask Christ why He spent so much time ministering to the poor and afflicted; I suspect it was because He loved them; and gave us the example and the same love through his Holy Spirit.
I sense that love in you Joseph and it is an encouragement to me and it glorifies God.
God richly bless you,

Anonymous said...

Interesting to note: Those who actually know Paul Washer would say, "I wish that everyone knew the Paul Washer that we know here at Grace Life. There is none more humble, gentle, and kind than he. It’s only in the pulpit (and on the mission field that he turns into a man on fire!)"

God uses all of us in different ways to speak to the needs of His people. The "body" is comprised of many different parts. Paul is being used by God to minister from the pulpit in a powerful way for a particular purpose.

God has used many of his sermons to prompt people to action moved by the Spirit convicting their hearts about their own luke warmness which resulted in an acts of charity and love.

Mel said...

Great post, Fred! Has anyone ever read "The Cross and the Switchblade"? In it David Wilkerson recounts how he wanted to witness to a gang kid, but the kids feet were bare, or he was wearing threadbare shoes, and David remembered hearing that people cannot hear the gospel as easily or as readily when they're suffering from a lack of the basic necessities of life. So he took his own shoes off and gave them to the gang member (leader?), and then shared the gospel with him. People are whole beings, not just spirits, and not just bodies, but a miraculous combination of both...

God bless you, my friend! I'm so glad I had a chance to stop by today (due to a wonderful unexpectedly free lunch hour!)

FCB said...

Hi Mel,
Glad you stopped by and added your comments. I did read the Cross and the Switchblade, and I've heard Nicki Cruz preach years ago, he was a man on fire for God. David Wilkerson is no slouch either.
God bless,