Last week I wrote about “pure religion” from James 1:27. In a nutshell, “the genius of the Gospel is that the love of God is revealed through people who love God by loving others.” James focuses on widows and orphans, which in my opinion is also symbolic of those who carry a burden too heavy for them to bear. This is great and deserves our attention, but I want to add a qualifier to this from Paul’s letter to the Galatians. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:10)
Our gospel is only as good as our love for one another. Two things this last week brought me to this conclusion: a conversation and an article. I was chatting with a friend I bumped into at the Sunnyvale Farmers’ Market. We were remarking how a good presentation makes even simple food more appetizing. (He had just come from breakfast.) The article I read was written by Mark Buchanan, a pastor in Vancouver, BC, on the commemoration of Columbus Day titled Native Americans, Europeans, and the Black Book. (a vary enlightening read) Here is an excerpt of an historical quote from a Native American chief. He was being asked for permission to evangelize his people.
“…In the end, he said he judged the Bible to be a sound book. Nevertheless, he wondered why the white people were not better than they are, having had it for so long. He promised that as soon as the white people achieved Christianity, he would recommend it to his own folks.”
Now this doesn’t change what the Gospel says or how it can save, but it does effect the accessibility of Jesus and his message. As scary as it sounds, our lives are a presentation of the Gospel.
Does this mean we have to have our outward lives all put together? Not necessarily. What it means is that despite our brokenness the love we share shines far brighter. It is through the loving, giving, and seeing life from someone else’s perspective that keeps us from becoming myopic and self-centered, which is the surest way to keep us in our brokenness. (I speak from experience.) Healing comes when we let go, when we stop living for ourselves only. It is in this place that the Kingdom’s Gospel has its greatest potential. If as Christians we are to make disciples, the first step is to make Jesus accessible. We can make him accessible by loving someone today, especially someone who belongs to the family of believers.
Grace and peace,