Text: Ephesians 5:1-2
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
Look around you dear brothers and sisters, we live in a world filled with sin and sorrow, darkness and despair. All around us there are so many people who are carrying within themselves so much hurt and pain. There are times when it seems like anguish and misery stalk like a shadow, just waiting to overtake and overpower, leaving the spirit desolate and the hearts broken. Sometimes it’s a wonder how people go on, and sometimes they just don’t, they just can’t seem to find a way as it all overtakes them.
The world? It’s a struggle, one that can overtake any one at any time regardless of how strong or how weak a person may be. In a sense, amidst the harsh realities of the burdens it heaps upon people, it is oblivious to who they are and what they can handle. The cry of David can so often seem like the ever present cry of those who struggle as they call out, “Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.” (Psalm 69:1-4)
God isn’t blind to this, nor is He far distant or far removed that He doesn’t see any of this. Nothing in creation is hidden from His sight, (Hebrews 4:13) least of all the hurt and the pain of His beloved and precious children. So vital to God was ending our suffering and our sorrow that, in love, He gave His only begotten Son to end our captivity to sin, death and the Devil. (John 3:16) In Christ He gives the ultimate triumphant victory as He frees us from all bondage and captivity. (1 Corinthians 15:56 and 57) Why then would He leave His children to the sorrows and the pain of the troubles of our daily lives?
He doesn’t. In love, hope, mercy and grace, God hears the daily cries of His beloved people as they struggle amidst this world. He sees them, their hearts burdened and their spirits weighed down with the hardships of daily life. From them He is never gone, nor is He ever blind or deaf.
This is why He calls us, each and every one of us, to be there, in compassion, mercy and understanding for our brothers and sisters in Christ. He calls each of us to minister, to counsel, to give of ourselves that His children are never left to feel lost or alone in a world that seems to prone to crush them and lead them astray.
Consider the examples of Scripture. Throughout the course of His Word, God calls ordinary people to go to the poor and the persecuted, to the downtrodden and to the sorrowful to proclaim His love. Though He could have easily parted the skies as He did with Saul of Tarsus, and proclaimed the freedom of His people in Egypt through the booming voice of His mighty thunder, He looked to Moses and Aaron to do it instead. Though God could have, on that road to Damascus, taught Saul all that he needed to know and showed him every instance and understanding of His grace, mercy and peace, He chose instead to send Ananias to him, to help and to heal him. Through Timothy, Titus and Silas the foundations of the early persecuted church were laid as these ordinary men went from place to place, ministering to the hurt and to the wounded, giving hope to those who struggled and suffered in the name of Christ Jesus.
Every step of the way God used and continues to use people to help people. He equips them to do the work that needs to be done in the faith of His boundless mercy. (Ephesians 4:12) He calls them to be imitators of Christ, to walk in His love, just as our dear Redeemer did, offering of ourselves daily to edify, and uplift, to heal those who are in need, offering freely of ourselves to them. (Ephesians 5:1 and 2) It is, after all, only when we become imitators of Christ when we put behind us our judgment, our understanding, our wisdom and we look rightly upon others, not as those who need our opinions, approval or disapproval, but those in need of compassion hope and charity in a lost and fallen world.
The question then becomes, how do you let God lead you in your daily walk? How do you let Him move you in service to those around you? Do you let Him move you in love and hope? Do you live your life in compassion, building on the foundation of the faith He, through His Spirit, has given us? Each of us has the potential to be a force for good and a source of strength in a world that takes so much from people, seeking to rob them of the dignity, peace and courage that God has intended for them. We just have to resolve ourselves to the idea that we are called to act and commit ourselves to it even as the Spirit moves through us, drawing us nearer to our God.
Remember the words of the hymn, dear brothers and sisters, “Let none hear you idly saying, “There is nothing I can do,” while the multitudes are dying and the master calls for you. Take the task he gives you gladly; let his work your pleasure be. Answer quickly when he calls you, “Here am I. Send me, send me!” There is so much for each of us to do. We need to just hear the voice of Jesus calling to us, drawing us in, reminding us that, at present, we live in a lost and fallen world where so many need to hear the Gospel message through the deeds of our love and the acts of our compassion.
Be bold and be of good courage, be strong and of good faith for God has much for each of us to do. Give of yourselves and know that, as you do, you are letting the Spirit build within you something grander and bigger than yourself. God will use you if you don’t resist Him, if you just trust Him. In those moments you will discover the wondrous joy that comes when you are given to become a blessing in the lives of others, living not for yourself but for your fellow man, knowing that each time God uses you, even in the smallest of ways to strengthen even one person, He does so using you to strengthen the entire body of believers.
What a blessing worth praise is that as we, through Him, become more than we are.
Now may the peace of the Lord that transcends all human understanding keep your Hearts and minds in Christ Jesus even unto life everlasting, Amen.