Friday, March 16, 2007

Better than Jesus?

Is there anything better than Jesus? Can any gift better than eternal life be offered by anybody? Maybe when these questions are asked point blank the answers are quickly shouted, "No!" But often the questions are not that pointed: and the answer is one made not with the mouth, but with actions. It seems that for many the answer to both questions is "Yes."

Some of you continue in sexual immorality. You know that your actions are not pleasing to God, yet you won't repent. With your actions you are saying, "This relationship is better than a relationship with Jesus." Some of you are so enamored by money that you'll do nearly anything to have more. You're unethical, if not a thief; you're a gambler; or maybe just plain covetous or stingy. What you say by your actions is, "The blessings of my possessions are greater to me than the gift from God."

There is surely some "cross bearing" for the Christian in this life, but we consider it all joy to suffer here, to do without here, to resist pleasures of the sinful ways here, if it means heaven later. Every day Jesus asks, "Will you pick up your cross?" (Luke 9:23); and everyday we answer "yes" or "no" by the choices we make from the heart. That’s Life at Work!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Gospel and Rescue: Care for the Nations

“Free At Last: Another One Down And 27 Million To Go. How Christians Are Becoming Modern Slavery’s Worst Nightmare.”

“Hope In The Heart Of Darkness: 3.9 Million Dead. 40,000 Raped. Christian Survival In Congo’s Killing Fields.”

“Red Light Rescue: The Business Of Saving Girls From A Life Of Prostitution.”

Those are the front cover stories in some of the most recent Christianity Today magazines. Some readers may initially scoff at the stories because of political influence and abuse, but the problems are real – and so are the people. And they have souls. Our compassion must be equally real!

The dispersed, the persecuted, the hungry, and the enslaved were on the mind of Paul and other disciples as they evangelized the world of their generation. Paul wrote to masters and slaves instructing them about godly treatment, and when he could, strongly encouraged masters to set their servants free (Colossians 3:22-4:1; Philemon 12-16). Slave trading, often involving kidnapping, was specifically condemned by Paul, and Timothy was charged to call his church out of such practice (1 Tim 1:10). When Agabus prophesied about the upcoming famine in the days of Claudius, the disciples were quick to offer their gift of help to their brothers living in Judea.

God is just, and we are to be concerned for those facing injustices, and especially where they cannot help themselves, Christians must step in. We cannot walk by on the other side of road. We cannot stand aside. It looks too much like we are holding coats and giving our approval.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Gal 6:9-10).

What can we do? We can support mission efforts that involve helping the dispersed, the persecuted, the hungry, and the enslaved. We can be more involved with the missions we already support, paying special attention to these hurting human beings. We can read to become more aware of the plight of others, and have our eyes open to the doors God will open for us to help! That’s Life at Work!