Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Jesus in Us

Do you notice sometimes how we express a quote we like yet we don't really believe it?  I was thinking about a quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi that says, "Preach the gospel at all times and, if necessary, use words."  We love that quote ... or do we?

The St. Francis quote is a good one.  It clearly articulates how our lives should express our faith and our love for Jesus.  But there are many who think that our only proclamation should be through preaching or 'lessons.'  So ... where does the Bible stand on this?

I love the way Paul articulates this as his people and his life are challenged by the difficulties of everyday life.  "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.  Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. (2 Cor. 4:8-9)"  Paul nailed it here!  Life happens to us but our faith is expressed in how we respond and how Jesus is reflected out to the world!  We are to reflect our Lord, especially in times of trial!

So the next time you hear this St. Francis quote, you might ask the person who says it, "Do you really believe that?"  For if you believe it ... if you buy the message of 2 Cor. 4 ... if you hear the call to reflect "our Lord" from 2 Cor. 3 ... then you might make the leap to missions.  Why do we participate in all of these missions we are highlighting?  How do we send out the Gospel message?  Does every mission do this in exactly the same way?  To Red Bird we send clothing, furniture and delivery people who joyfully take thousands of pounds of goods to people who see our love and, hopefully, receive the Gospel message.  To Belize we send money and shoe boxes and, sometimes, people ... the Lord is reflected.  To the Boys and Girls Club we send people like Maribeth, Tim, Isabel, Cleta, Neandra, Ginger and Cher.  Jesus is both sent and proclaimed in those people as they interact with kids who need structure, help and love.  Through Bob and Melba we send food.  Through Benevolence we send help at times where resources are scarce.  Through CR we send hope and we name the 'higher power (Jesus)' who is the source of help, hope and salvation.  To Costa Rica we send work and relationship, though we didn't lead a single worship service.  Why do we do these things?

Because "we all share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may be seen (possibly without words) in us" in how we do life.  Now that is a witness I can share!  Randy

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