I have been nominated to be on the Board of Elders for my church, which is both a great honor and a big responsibility. Even though the official vote isn’t until tomorrow night, I was invited to attend a joint meeting of our Executive Leadership Team and Board of Elders last week. At the end of the meeting our out-going president shared a wonderful message of his vision and hope for our church. He started by reading the passage from Matthew 25 about the sheep and the goats. This is Jesus’ prophecy of the end times when He will separate the people like a farmer separates sheep and goats, putting the sheep on the right and the goats on the left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:34-40 (NLT).
He pointed out that as a church we had done a great job of putting structures into place for people to come and worship, to come to Sunday school, and to come and fellowship. All of these things are good, for us to come together and grow in our faith. But he challenged us to not just be a “come” church, but to be a “go” church. He challenged us to go and feed the hungry, clothe those in need of clothes, heal and minister to those who are sick, and to visit those in prison.
He also made the observation that those who are on the Lord’s right are referred to as righteous, but their focus had not been on becoming righteous or earning their righteousness. They simply were righteous. As I thought about this, it occurred to me that they their focus was on loving others, on feeding, clothing, healing, and visiting “the least of these.” In fact, they were so focused on doing this that they didn’t even realize they were doing anything special. It was just second nature for them to love and care for others.
Listening to my dear brother in Christ, a man who definitely has the heart of Christ, the song “Hands and Feet” by Audio Adrenaline started running through my head. I even told him afterwards that he had inspired a Music Monday blog post based on that song. (Note: If you’re looking for that video, you won’t find it here because God had another, better idea.)
Then I got out to the car to go home, and the song that was on the CD when I started the car was “Won’t You Be My Love” by MercyMe. I love this song. The chorus is a plea from Jesus to be His hands and feet for a lost world:
Won’t you be my voice calling
Won’t you be hands healing
Won’t you be my feet walking
Into a broken world
Won’t you be my chain breaker
Won’t you be my peace maker
Won’t you be my hope and joy
Won’t you be my LOVE
You can’t be Jesus’ love for a broken world by just sitting in a pew each week. You have to go out into the world in need of love. You have to go where there are hungry people and feed them. You have to go where there are homeless people and provide them with clothes and housing. You have to go where there are sick people and help them to heal. You have to go where there are non-believers and share with them the grace of Christ. It’s great to come to church each week, but it’s not enough to be on the Lord’s right in the judgment. The love of Christ must dwell in your heart and caring for others must be second nature.