Aug 31 2015
We know more than we act on. Our pastor likes to say “we are educated far beyond our obedience.” And yet some people in church still demand deeper teachings. In fact, they LEAVE churches for other churches in pursuit of deeper teaching. Why? Most of us – myself included – haven’t digested what we’ve already been fed. Take, for instance, something simple – the poor. We know we should assist the poor. Ask yourself: “What have I done to help the poor and powerless this year?”
Just months before his death, Martin Luther King spoke at a convention in Chicago…
We are called to play the Good Samaritans on life’s roadside. But that will only be an initial act. One day, the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be beaten and robbed as they make their journey through life. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It understands that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
Do not be deceived by the structure of our society. For many of us, it runs smoothly but it is radically unjust. The divide between rich and poor is obscene. The divide between black and white is deep. And it is the creation of our fellow human beings – politicians and financiers, stockholders and judges. We have a system that needs significant reconstruction. This view isn’t anti-American or anti-capitalist or pro-socialist. It’s firstly and ONLY pro-human.
The world our generation now inherits suffers not from lack of biblical scholars but lack of biblical living. Our country’s forefathers – with their Protestant work ethic – imported black slaves to build our capitalism. Despite their furious devotion to deep biblical teaching they somehow justified the de-humanization of untold millions. For what? Money.
Biblical teaching is no guarantee of a life well-lived.
Jesus taught against the Old Testament experts of his day (the Pharisees) with harsh tones.
“They do not practice what they preach.” (Matthew 23:3)
He told them very plainly: “Be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.” (Luke 11:41)
The time has come, dear brothers and sisters. Not for deeper teaching but deeper living and deeper loving. We must act on what we know.
Church leaders, God will not reward us for the size of our budgets. It is the size of love in our hearts and the hearts of those we lead that please him. “Show me your faith without works,” James said.
Our people need to be led into doing good. Not learning about it. Doing it. Deeply. Meaningfully. Consistently. If we won’t be thoughtful in this, we can expect Jesus will one day say to us: “You [teachers] have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness.” (Matthew 23:23)
There is a Jericho Road that must be transformed. And we are the ones – in this time – to do it together.