Today’s series serving of scripture is from Romans 12:13a and is written by another cyber-friend Susan Panzica. Be sure to drop by and visit Susan’s blog Eternity Café.
My 2 children have traveled the world on various short term mission trips for the last nine years. This year’s trips have had perhaps the most profound impact of all their trips.
Since their trips, I have found myself “accidentally meditating.” A lyric from a favorite worship song “Hosanna” is just stuck in my head. “Break my heart for what breaks Yours…”
Over 60 years ago, Dr. Bob Pierce prayed similar words: “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” In 1947, as a war correspondent and evangelist, he traveled to China with Youth for Christ, and his heart was broken by the needs of one little girl. Pledging a monthly sponsorship for her, Dr. Bob Pierce began World Vision to help children orphaned in the Korean War.
In the decades that followed, World Vision has fulfilled the calling of Romans 12:13a, “share with God’s people who are in need,” by providing global relief using clean water as an entry point into communities, following with other activities that create change and ultimately bring transformation through the gospel.
Last Christmas, our family participated in the Advent Conspiracy and substituted gifts for each other with the purchase clean water, sewing machines, a stocked fishing pond, and a flock of sheep for those in need overseas. And closer to home, we take part in our church’s homeless ministry that meets the needs of men from a local Christian shelter.
All these ministries seek to meet the needs of those in need. But there are many NON-Christians who also care for the poor, who sacrifice life and limb to live in impoverished nations, who serve in the Peace Corps, the military, the inner cities, Indian reservations, homeless shelters, safe houses for abused…
As my meditation continued on what breaks God’s heart, I began to realize some other things, some personal things that break His heart. I silently but loudly heard His question to me: You can love people around the world, but can you love the person sitting next to you?
What breaks God’s heart? Not just children dying in Africa. I realized that it breaks God’s heart when my attitudes and actions represent the enemy more than they represent Him. While we need to care for the “least of these,” we ought not to do it out of obligation and then have Him say, “I never knew you.” (Matt.25)
It grieves God when His people act like they don’t know Him. He’s not as grieved by sinners who act like sinners as He is by Christians who act like sinners. If we meet the physical needs of the poor, but are judgmental, critical, envious, prideful, angry, or filled with false Pharisee holiness, we are not obeying His call to holy living.
If we truly want to love our neighbor as ourselves, that includes loving the unlovely. “If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Any sinner does that. … In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” (Matt. 5:48 MSG)
As Christians, we must “share with God’s people who are in need.” And we must do so with the assurance that as we do, we are ministering to Jesus Himself. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited Me into your home. I was naked, and you gave Me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for Me. I was in prison, and you visited Me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see You hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give You something to drink? Or a stranger and show You hospitality? Or naked and give You clothing? When did we ever see You sick or in prison and visit You?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me!’” (Matt. 25:35-40 NLT)
My prayer today is found in the surrounding lyrics of “Hosanna”:
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause
As I go from nothing to
May it be your prayer, too!