Nearly every day my phone connects me with people in pain. A mother whose son is in jail wept as she talked with me yesterday about how much she loved him in spite of his poor choices. My heart was broken for her and for him. An elderly woman told me of her loneliness and frustration over her inability to serve others anymore. There are calls about loss, sickness, disappointment, and sin. These people, for whom I am a shepherd and friend, give me the privilege of sharing their lives, their sorrow, their hopes. What would we do without the hope of Jesus and His salvation?
One of the things that both angers and saddens me is the disregard for the weak and the poor that I see in the world all around me. Too often those who could make a difference, don’t! Those who should be in a position to help either do not care or, even worse, use their position only to exploit others and enrich themselves. Perhaps I am just more aware than I was in the past, but it seems that unjust practices are increasing in nearly every part of our social structures.
In reading the Scripture this morning, I found this great encouragement in this passage that describes the “Lord’s Servant” ( a prophecy about Jesus) – “I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged ‘till he establishes justice on earth.” (Isaiah 42:1, NIV) The metaphors Isaiah uses to tell us of His gentleness may be hard to grasp. A contemporary translation makes the truth more accessible. “He will not crush those who are weak or quench the smallest hope.” (NLT)
God’s justice is not brutal nor does it overlook those that the world regards as being of no consequence. His care and concern reaches the least and the low. My prayer is that His heart will be my heart. The aged, the jailed, the sick, those who are foolishly following their lusts stumbling into greater slavery – I will care for them; help me, Jesus! Will you? Jesus spoke of the Day when all will appear before the Judge of All – the One who sees past deeds to the very intents of the heart – and said this: “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, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:34-40, NIV)
Bob Pierce, founder of Samaritan’s Purse, saw suffering children in Asia, and wrote in his Bible – “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.” What a prayer! May our hearts be open to being broken. Is it pleasant to care? No. Compassion demands action. Action requires sacrifice. Christian, let’s be like Jesus and take up the cause of those on the margins of life, give love to those who are unlovely, and carry a cup of water to those who are thirsty – for God’s sake!
The word from the Word is brief but powerful. Lord, pierce our pretensions, fill us with the love of Jesus.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27-28, NIV)
Let us hear these blessed words when we to Your holy Presence – ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” Amen.