New Hope Notes
Loving God Through Our Reach
Pastor Elwin Ahu
Where do we find Christ? At church? At a football game or a bar? Well, the clues are in the Bible. It tells us many stories about Jesus and the poor people to which He ministered. His ministry is mostly found on the margins of life. He helped people who were shunned by society. Christ spent a lot of time with those considered outside of society.
Why did Jesus spend so much time on outsiders? Because we are commanded by God to love God and one another. It may be easier to love God who blesses you than to love the poor and the least of us but we have to do it anyway. So why are acts of kindness so important? What we do for the least in our society we are actually doing for the Lord. As the Bible says, "For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me a drink ... a stranger, and you invited Me in ... naked, and you gave Me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for Me ... in prison, and you visited Me ... [When] you did it to one of the least of these ... you were doing it to Me!" (Matt. 25:35-40 NLT). The Lord did not define “least”. He left it up to us. The Bible also encourages, "They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31).
According to the Bible, "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'" (Matt. 25:37-39) His disciples were surprised. It is not the quantity of good deeds – it is whether acts of kindness are a natural overflow of our relationship with God.
The staff on the Mercy ships is a great example of this natural overflow of their relationship with God. The Mercy ships are large hospital ships staffed with volunteers who go to poor African countries to heal the poor for free. They do surgery everyday to heal the blind, the sick and deformed. The doctors on the ship actually pay for the privilege to serve. Why do the Mercy ships doctors do this? Reaching out creates blessings from God. As the Bible says, "Share your food with the hungry ... [help] those who are helpless, poor, and destitute. Clothe those who are cold, and don't hide from relatives who need your help. If you do these things, God will shed His own glorious light upon you ... [Goodness] will be a shield before you, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Then, when you call, the Lord will [quickly] answer, 'Yes, I am here.'" (Is. 58:7-9 LB)
Look beyond yourself. See the least of us as God sees them.
In Sierra Leone, where a Mercy ship docked, there had been a civil war and a rebel had cut off the hands of a civilian there. Years later, after the civilian received Christ, the rebel approached him and asked for forgiveness. He did forgive that rebel for cutting off his hands.
I have been divorced two times and married 3. And I put my young son Brandon through all of that and so we did not have a great relationship for years. But after I had met Pastor Wayne Cordeiro and accepted Christ into my life I knew that I needed to build a new relationship with my son. So I invited Brandon to a Christian Men’s conference. At first I did not think it was going all that well. But in the end I asked Brandon what he thought of all that and he told me the perfect words that made me so thankful to God and my son. Brandon said, “Dad, all is forgiven. Let’s start over.”
I found Jesus in the arms of a young man – my son Brandon. Remember, the Blessings of God will overflow if you reach out to others. Aren’t we all sinners? Since we are, then we are the least and God still loves us, so shouldn’t we extend that love to others?