I am reading Crazy Love again. Because now, I am taking action on some of the commands of Jesus...and it is a little scary. I have stepped out in ways that if God doesn't come through, I'll be up the proverbial creek. And, so now, instead of reading it for conviction and motivation, I am reading it for encouagement and assurance.
I have two things to share from the book. One is a scripture passage that brings me to tears. Actual tears. For those of you who know me in real life- I don't spend a lot of time crying. I actually didn't shed a tear from like age 13-19. Like, none. God (and Joe) have been working on me to be a little more open emotionally, but not to the point that I would cry while reading the Bible, and not in front of other people! It must be the Holy Spirit. Praise the Lord.
(For those of you who are curious, I start to tear up around verse 6.)
Anyway, here are the verses:
from Isaiah 58
2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
3 'Why have we fasted,' they say,
'and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?'
"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?
6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
13 "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD's holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob."
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.
And then, here is what I read today. Chan was talking about Christ's command to love your neighbor as yourself. And how most Christians, when we here about others taking that literally- we are moved. We think it is so awesome! But, we do not step out in faith and follow that command in our own lives. And here is the really sucky part (sucky because I see it to be truth):
"Non-churchgoers tend to see Christians as takers rather than givers. When Christians sacrifice and give wildly to the poor, that is truly a light that glimmers. The Bible teaches that the church is to be that light, a sign of hope, in an increasingly dark and hopeless world. Matthew 5:16 says, 'Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.'"
~Crazy Love, pp. 140
I used to be annoyed at like Kingdom Bound or whatever when Compassion International would beg and plead and show pictures and TAKE A LONG TIME before a concert trying to get people to give. Okay, okay, there are poor people far away. Now, let's get on to Newsboys.
Now, I am annoyed that people (me) (CHRISTIANS!) were not clamoring to give and save and rescue those poor starving children. How is it that for all the church I have attended, that it had not been pounded into my head: GIVE. Give yourself. Give your money. Help the poor. That's pretty much all that Jesus talked about. How did I miss that?!?
Well. I am not missing it now. I have a clear focus. As Martin Luther said, "There are two days on my calendar: this day and that day."