Wednesday, June 8, 2011

When you're trying to deliver something of importance to other people, do you ever feel as though you are talking to an empty room?

The information you are attempting to convey leaves your lips but evaporates like vapor into the air instead of penetrating the minds and hearts of those to whom you are speaking.  Your words, whether spoken or written, seem to be carried on a barely distinguishable wisp of wind, and those they are intended for give no more recognition or response to them than a person who is deaf, dumb, and blind.

What's even worse is the lack of response you get from professing Christians.  Often, the world around them which they have created and how they perceive it is more important to them.  Either that, or they're so absorbed in their own minds and causes that they refuse to drag themselves out of the exclusive box they've built and actually open their eyes and ears to the possibility that something else is going on around them and which they refuse to acknowledge and give response.

What's wrong with this picture?

Every true Christian has (or at least should have) a passion to serve Jesus Christ in various ways.  Far too often, however, the self-absorbed Christian's passion becomes what they see as the only service of importance to the LORD, and what may interest another Christian who wants to share important news and make requests for their own passion or work falls flat when the self-absorbed Christian is presented with it.  These types of Christians' horizon becomes narrowed and their vision blurred.  They can't see beyond their own noses and the singleness of mind they're caught up in because they have become blinded by self-worth and only what they view as something worthy of their notice.

Whether you are reading or hearing about the on-going work to end abortion, the vile deeds committed against persecuted brothers and sisters worldwide, the degradation of the society in which we live, or any other myriad problems the world is embroiled in, every one of us should have a heart that is ready and willing to respond to other Christians when necessary.  Our own passions should be laid aside for a moment and notice given to the important work of our brothers and sisters and the requests they bring us for our immediate attention, action,  and prayer.

Instead of giving the impression that we are uninterested in those things outside our own experiences and interests, or giving mere lip-service to those who bring them to us, we should be showing that we aren't as shallow as some would believe us to be.  All it takes is a word or two of acknowledgment to reveal that we are truly listening and that we care about what others are bringing us.

We should ALL be united in one common cause: spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  But we shouldn't fail to remember that the LORD also works outside the exclusive box some have erected around themselves.  When we do remember this, we are able to hear, to speak, and to see the needs we've failed to see in the past and respond accordingly.

Our reaction or response - or lack thereof - will reveal where our hearts truly lie, and the type of Christian for which we want to be remembered.

Are you listening?

1 comment:

Cory R. said...

Thank you, Karen, for this encouragement. So often I feel like that one Christian doctor in World War Two in Japan, who was somehow spared when standing on the street corner when the city was hit by the atomic bomb. The hurt, dying, and maimed lie all around him, thousands upon thousands who needed a doctor's care. He was overwhelmed. How could he ever manage such a case load? Then, he did the one thing that has been my inspiration for years: He started caring for the patient that was lying at his feet. William Wilberforce and William Carey have also come to mind while reading your article. I think Wilberforce, was involved in some 50 or more organizations, worked at every good piece of legistlation that he could that came through Parliment, and eventially saw slavery outlawed. And didn't Carey translate the Bible into some amazing number of Asian languages, start schools, found a mission agency, compile dictionaries while a missionary in India? They started their great accomplishments by working with the patient at their feet. And what is that quote about "expecting great things from God and attempting great things for God?"

The Lord may not be calling me to start a new mission agency or become a member of Parliment, but I am expected to at "preach the Gospel, if necessary, using words." I may be the only Gospel that the Walmart cashier, or the tired road construction sign holder, or pesky neighbor sees. How I respond to my children or my husband speaks volumes to others about Christ. The "great thing" that I do for the Lord today may just be listening to a lonely elderly woman, being patient with a grumpy spouse, or doing my housework well.

I so needed to remember how important to let the Lord use every area of my life to glorify Him, not just my "in the box" pet ministry. There are so many to pray for, so many to show the Lord to, so many opportunities for us to be godly, to encourage, to help. I am overwhelmed. How can I handle such a caseload?

Well, frankly, I can't!! It's only through the Lord that I can do anything good at all. It's not my job to produce results, but to be obedient. Through His grace, wisdom and strength I can do what He wants me to today, this hour, this minute. I can, through Jesus, care for the patient at my feet.

Thank you again, Karen, for reminding me not to tire of doing good things.