“Your Father causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you only love those who love you, what reward will you get? [Mt 5:45-46]
Several years ago, a man, who was out of work and trying to support his young boy, went around to the churches in his hometown for help. With the exception of one church in the town, almost all of the other ones turned him away. When he would explain his dilemma, he would get the same response: “Are you a Christian?” “Are you saved?” Because he was not a Christian, he was not given any help.
Another time, when the people of Asia were devastated because of a huge earthquake in their area, people started collecting money in order to send help to the Asians overseas. One Christian woman to whom I spoke over the telephone didn’t understand why churches were collecting money to send overseas to help. “The people aren’t Christians. They have obviously been judged by God.” In other words, let the heathens starve.
There seems to be an unspoken attitude among a certain element within Christ’s Church that the Church should only concern itself with the Church. But is this what the Master taught? If our Heavenly Father cares for and blesses both those who love Him and those who do not, should we not imitate Him in this? If He sends rain on both the unrighteous and the righteous, where is the Scriptural support for those who only want to bless and care for the righteous?
God shows kindness to all of mankind in order to lead them to repentance. Should not His sons and daughters do the same? But if we deliberately choose to ignore what Christ commanded in order to focus inwardly on the church community and its needs, how are we imitating God?
Many years ago, I read a book called Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam. In the book, one of the things that Putnam addressed was the need for the American people to stop depending on the government to support them and to start supporting each other themselves. In particular, he addressed the needs of the poor. He stated in his book that the time had come for the poor to stop depending on the churches in the United States to help them because “those congregations primarily help only their own, not those outside of them.”
When I read these words, I said to myself, “What a damning indictment against the Church in the United States.” These words go directly against what the Lord Jesus Christ commanded us.
When we bless others and care for them, we show people the love of God. And when we show them the love of God, we give the Holy Spirit something to work with as far as drawing them to Christ is concerned. But if we deliberately choose not to bless others and care for them because “they don’t belong to the Church,” what, pray tell, are we giving the Holy Spirit to work with when it comes to saving souls? A Gospel tract? A feeble invitation to church?
Jesus commands us to imitate our Heavenly Father when it comes to loving, blessing, and caring for mankind. We are not to love as men love, bless as men bless, and give as men give. We are to do all of these things as God does. If we only bless our brothers and sisters in Christ, what are we doing more than others? How are we showing ourselves to be any different from those who walk in darkness if we only love those who love us and only bless those who believe as we do?
When we love, give, and bless selectively, we show ourselves to be sons of men. But when we do these things as Christ commands…
… we show ourselves to be sons of God.
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