Replicating the heart of Christ.
As churches we often engage in benevolent ministries, from soup kitchens to taking care of people who are in need, the indigent, those in prisons and others who are sick. In doing so we are complying with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My favourite text which comes to mind is Matthew 25 where Jesus said: ”I was hungry and you fed me.”
It does not always play well when these people come into our personal space, even our churches. I have experienced people bringing air freshener to church because of a poor person who did not smell that fresh, which they would then spray around him. I have seen people would not share the same church bench with a poor person from the street.
We can do all the right things from our high places. But it is in sharing our space, in coming closer and letting people move into our personal space, when we see the real heart of God revealed in us.
Jesus had a different view of ministry than we hold today. Today children must not be a disturbance when the Word of God is being preached. In verses 13-16 of this chapter Jesus stopped the disciples from rebuking the children while he was preaching and told them to let the children come to Him. Jesus stopped in the middle of his preaching and teaching because people, children in particular, were important to Him. He stopped for Bartimaeus, because even the blind beggar mattered to Him.
While the blind Bartimaeus was calling out to Jesus, he was also rebuked by others, probably thinking they were doing Jesus a favour. Jesus then did something different. He did not go over to the blind man himself, but asked people around Him to bring the blind man to where He was. I might be reading too much into the text, but it has always been God's plan that we should be his hands and feet.
We are the body of Christ. Through us he reaches to a person that just needs the heart of God demonstrated. Let us be impartial to all mankind.
To think about: Do I serve people only from my place of comfort? Or do I serve people even when it costs me something?
Written By: Rev C Swartz, Churches Channels of Hope Programme Coordinator