Radical has opened my eyes to the world outside my Christian bubble. To poverty. To the orphan. To the AIDS crisis. To the people of the world that have never heard the name of Jesus. And I'm not just talking about the feeling you get after you watch a Compassion International video at church or hear a missionary speak. Not the "wow, I feel so bad for those poor people. I wish there was something I could do... oh, church is over now let's head to lunch and push it from our minds." I cannot get it out of my mind. I cannot shake the overwhelming ache in the depths of my soul for people I don't even know. I have taken a long, hard stare at the verses in Matt 25, when the sheep and the goats are separated, and I have wept because I'm afraid I would be walking with the goats.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his 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.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”Stop. Did you actually read it. Or did you just skim it because you've "read it a hundred times?" Go back and read it again. Nowhere are the sheep and the goats separated based on church attendance, baptism, tithing. I think for so long Christians (ME!) have held to the knowledge that we are saved through faith, not of works, that we think this is our Get Out of Jail Free card. We don't have to actually DO anything because Praise God, I've been saved by faith!
There's just one problem with that.
2:17 Faith, by itself, if not accompanied by action is dead.
2:26 Faith without deeds is dead.
I'm pretty sure when James talks about deeds and action he's not just talking about stuff like helping someone change a tire on the side of the road or throwing some extra money in the offering plate for the missionary. Not bad things, but not exactly touching the leper, selling all your possessions kind of things.
So I've been wrestling. Wrestling against my selfish desires. Wrestling with the "new" information I've been given. Wrestling more against my selfish desires. We do not live high on the hog. We have 2 adults & 3 children in an 800 sq foot house. We have one car. We do not have much excess. But even so, I dream big. I have big plans for our future. I have an addiction to Starbucks. I have a materialistic view that does not include much room for the orphan, widow, homeless, outcast.
Until God used a little orange book to smack me over the head. I am weary from the wrestling but thankful that God cared enough to pull me out of the American Dream pit I was in. He loved me enough to pull me out of the miry clay and He's here to steady me as I begin to walk on a new foundation.