I started reading Brandon Hatmaker’s book “Barefoot Church” (I’m not done reading it but I already highly recommend it) and a few things really struck me in reading chapter two, so that is the purpose for the post. Really more for my sake than yours, but I hope/pray you will gain something out of this post as well. 🙂
Brandon writes this…
Richard Sterns, president of World Vision, offers some bold direction on God’s expectations for Christ followers: “those expectations are not mysterious or difficult to discern. They are, in fact, etched clearly in page after page of Scripture – a bright thread of God’s compassion for people and his zeal for justice.”
And then he drops the scripture on me, and for me it convicted me…bad:
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8)
For me this was like a “I am so dumb” moment. Being a professional Christian for all these years I have asked the question. “What’s expected of me?” “How do I make God happy” ? While my answers always danced around the above scripture and others like this I never landed smack dab in the middle of it.
As I thought about the above scripture after reading it I went back to all the things I have done that seemed good or all the social orgs I have pushed from the pulpit to get the “awareness” of sex trafficking, clean water issues, fair trade…but the question was…”WAS I REALLY DOING ANYTHING”?
Sad the answer was a resounding NO
I will tell you why with openness and failure why that is. With being a new church plant and a pastor at revive church, I can tell you that my focus is how many people are there and what was the offering like…sprinkled in with two outreaches in our three months of church existence, but the main is issue was the first two, and that is the wrong focus…it really is.
Brandon again hit the nail on the head with a tweet two weeks ago:
We do Jesus an injustice by reducing His life & ministry to such a sad story as a church attendance & membership roles
Uh…ouch! While to some effect I should be caring about this, I noticed my attention was focused way more on that than Micah 6:8 and while even this Christmas we broke family traditions to go downtown and had out back packs full of toiletries, food, gloves, hats, etc., and with that experience, well it’s kinda hard to explain so I will use an example from “How the Grinch stole Christmas”. If you have watched that movie you know at the end something happens to The Grinch…his heart grows 3 sizes.
Well that Christmas morning amongst the chaos of giving out back packs and breakfast tacos…we didn’t have enough, not nearly enough for everyone. That hurt me. the team gave away everything we could…the cooler in which the tacos were held, bought coffee half drunk, cookies and candies from friends. Anything we could give..we did, but it wasn’t enough. So for the first time ever my heart grew for the least of these. I wondered why? Why did it take so long for me to notice this? I mean I’ve seen the homeless for years, given them money and food, but why now? Why hadn’t I done anything until Christmas 2011. Brandon had the answer I was looking for in page 34 of Barefoot Church:
We often confuse the heart of compassion that requires a response with the feeling of sympathy that remain idle
I was sympathetic…but not compassionate. Christmas 2011 has etched my heart forever and I thankful for that.
“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work” – Mother Teresa (Barefoot Church)