willow creek association 1999-04-14 - Now You Have It Right

Matthew 25:35 (NIV) 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, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me. (Jesus speaking)

Sunday morning I was watching a news show about the Kosovo refugee crisis. Nothing has tugged on my heart in a long time as seeing these people forced to leave their homes, to live in makeshift camps with inadequate food, water, shelter and clothing. Items that we take for granted. As you may or may not know, these Albanian refugees are Muslims. The people driving them out of their homes call themselves Christians. This crisis has pained me not only for the people, but also for the harm this conflict must be doing to the Cause of Christ. Think about it: Would you want anything to do with Christianity if your exposure to "Christians" is simply people ripping apart families?

My hope and faith increased and my heart warmed as the news show went into a Macedonian family's home. This Christian family has taken in 27 Albanian Muslim refugees into their home. They were shown breaking bread and eating together. They had separated their beds and made comfortable places for the refugees to sleep. Their children were playing together. The Muslims were hungry, thirsty, without shelter and proper clothing; the Christian family fed them, clothed them and gave them shelter.

As my heart warmed, I wondered what Jesus was thinking as He saw what this family was doing. You know what I think Jesus said? He was saying, "Now you have it. Now you understand what I meant by follow Me. Now you are doing as I did." And I think Jesus is smiling upon that family.

How about you and your local church? Do you have it right? Do you understand the application of Jesus Christ in your small corner of the world that God has allowed you to occupy? Are you feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, providing for the sick and needy? Are you applying what is written in the Bible to your life, to your world? Or are you and your church doing the same thing over and over every weekend without making a difference, without making an impact on the world around you, without making Christ alive and relevant to others? Is Jesus saying, "Now you folks have it right." Or is He saying, "No, no, no! That's not what I taught, that's not what I modeled for you on earth." Do you have it right?

Lord, forgive us for being caught up in our own selfish ways. Forgive us for being us-centered and not others-centered. Help us to shine Your light in this very dark world. In Jesus' name. Amen.