If you know me well you know that there are a few things that I am very passionate about. Sometimes when I get into a conversation about my passions, I get very excited and spirited and occasionally, a little over the top. Generally, I don’t stand up on a soapbox and share my innermost thoughts about a subject unless I know you well and believe that what comes out of my mouth won’t freak you out. However, I was going to break that rule a few days ago. One of the subjects I am alluding to is the church and what their responsibility is in the community and the world.
My plan was to stand on my soapbox to address my disappointment in the Church. I wish it would get back to being an Acts based community instead of a disunited, greedy, judgmental society that over the past 2,000 years has severely lost its way.
I was going to talk about how Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was a marriage proposal to the church, and that even then He knew this proposal was to a whore that would be tossed by the waves of humanity. However, over the past several days my thoughts have changed. I have been thinking “What good will this do? Will I just be perpetuating the things that I am speaking against? Will my judgment towards the Church be seen as hypocritical or crass?” I don’t know, but this is what I do know – there is still good in the church, there are still people out there who live intentional, generous, genuine, sacrificial lives and there are even church organizations that are communal, righteous Acts based ministries, and in honor of them I would like to tell a story about them.
As some may know, this past week my visa expired and I was forced to exit the Kingdom of Thailand and venture off to Malaysia for a mini vacation and visa run. One of my good friends from the US lived there and his mother and sister offered me a place to stay. They picked me up from the airport and took me out to eat, gave me my own room, hot water and a comfy bed; you could say I was in paradise. I met some of the mom’s friends who are very active in the church and minister to the young people of Malaysia. Those friends helped transport me to and from the Embassy 2 days in a row so I could update my visa. They graciously bought my meals and trust me they know where all the best restaurants are! They were constantly looking for things that we could do together and ways that we could strengthen each other while I was there. They made sure all my needs were met and then some, and there was always enough love to go around. Most importantly, they were praying for me as I had a little incident and needed to go to the hospital to get checked out for a couple of hours. (I am fine, and the doctor says I am in good health!) It was hard saying goodbye to these wonderful people, but I know I will see them again someday if not in this life – then I will see them again in the Kingdom of Heaven!
These 4 people truly understand what it means to live in community, what it means to share each other’s burdens, and how to take care of strangers in need. I know they didn’t have to help me out as much as they did, but I sure appreciate it. I am also blessed and humbled to know that there are still people out there who will go to all kinds of lengths to take care of their guests and to share what the Lord has blessed them with by sharing with others. And I know that God will bless them all even more than they have blessed me because of their kindness, generosity and obedience.
So I could have gotten up on a soapbox and really bashed the church and told everyone they need to do better and by holding their churches accountable for what they do. It might have even got your attention a little more. But I feel it is more productive to share a testimony of people who are walking out what Christ taught us and living lives that are holy and pleasing to the Lord. I pray that this encourages you, and that when you have the opportunity to go out of your way to bless someone, you will take it knowing that what you do unto the least of these you do unto Christ!