Brother Jeff's Message
I remember sitting down to lunch with a friend and our discussion led us to benevolence. We talked about the people who come asking for help. We admitted struggling with the question, “Do they really need it?” “Are they telling the truth?” Rarely but sometimes, “Do they really deserve it?” There is a fine line between being judgmental and compassionate as we try to be good stewards of the Lord’s blessings. There is no question there are those who “play the system” looking for hand out after hand out having long ago found this to be an easy, albeit uncertain way of getting by. I often wonder, isn’t there something fundamentally wrong with continually helping those who are capable of helping themselves but just won’t? I realize there is also something fundamentally questionable about the attitude with which we make judgments regarding who is and who is not worthy. We are called to be benevolent not judgmental. After all Jesus did not die for the worthy (Romans 5:6-8, Matthew 9:11-13). Additionally, the “Great Commission” says go preach, teach and baptize not judge, condemn and convict (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15). Hence the great struggle between helping and enabling. The sense of entitlement runs rampant in our society today and that doesn’t help with these decisions either. I have had people come to the church building asking for help then leave angry, accusing the church of not being very Christian because we didn’t do more, actually saying churches unwilling to help those in need are part of the problem in America today! Incredible right? This entitled thought process so prevalent in our society can easily pervert the sanctity of Biblical truth creating a sense of spiritual entitlement if we are not careful. If we are not alert, we could effectively become spiritual pan handlers; beggars of the gifts of God and the church. I realize we are not “worthy” and cannot earn our way into heaven and ultimately bow before the throne of God totally at his mercy. However, I don’t believe that defeated, ‘I’m worthless’ attitude is the one he wants to see from us. Jesus came that we might be heirs to the throne. Jesus came to seek and save not humiliate and condemn. As Christians, we were lost but now we are found and knowledge of this great love towards us propels us into a grateful, happy and hopeful way of life. We come before the throne often, humbly praising and sharing in the glory of being part of the body of Christ. Except sometimes we don’t. We come like the beggar who shows up every week looking for a handout, offering lame excuses as to why he still isn’t growing. Eventually we will no longer assist the beggar because he refuses to help himself. I’m just asking for thought, is there any difference in the beggar that comes to the door with no intention of change and the one that comes through the door with the same intention?