Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Shepastor: "Relationships..."

The Calling of Matthew
9As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. 10While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.13But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 9: 9-13

Relationships are important to God. When God chose to form the world He spoke to the members of the Trinity and said, “Let Us make man in our own image…in the image of God created He Him, male and female He created them.”

God saw that it was not good for man to be alone so he created woman. Throughout scripture, we are shown the importance of godly relationships, compassion in relationships and what broken, fractured relationships can do to individuals, families and communities.

So often, humanity has gotten it wrong. The major issue in the garden where satan tempted Adam and Eve was that he wanted to break up our relationship with God the Father. Therefore he persuaded them to believe that God was holding out on them, holding back something good and desirable, that God somehow wanted to keep them from knowing what He knows and having the power that He has. Ever since that time, the Lord has been working through our Savior Jesus to bring us back into right relationship with Him.

Relationship…how we “see” and perceive one another…relationship…how we interact with one another…relationship…how we treat one another…relationship how we live along with and along side one another. I said earlier that humanity has gotten it wrong. We have somehow convinced ourselves that we can be in right relationship with God, while being alienated and at odds with one another.

God’s word says, however, “How can you say you love me whom you have not seen and hate your brother whom you have seen?” There is a disconnect. In our text for today, Jesus wanted to teach the religious leaders and the “sinners” that God wants to be in relationship with all of us and wants us to be in relationship with one another. Yes, we are admonished to be in the world and not of the world, but we are to bring the fragrance of love, holiness, peace and deliverance to those who are lost. How can we do that if we only hang around each other?

This does not mean that we are to be “chameleon Christians…” those individuals who morph into the behaviors of their current company. When Jesus went to eat in the homes of the tax collectors, He didn’t go there just to “hang out, eat drink and be merry.” Jesus had a purpose in mind…to show them love, compassion and a better way.

In your relationships with people on your job, in your family and home, in your community, where ever you frequent, what is your purpose? Do you recognize the role you’ve been called to play in all of your relationships? God has specifically, intentionally, purposefully placed you in ALL of your current relationships for the purpose of you bringing Jesus’ invitation of healing, salvation and deliverance. You and I are the vehicles through which the Lord wants to bring a message of reconciliation to the world.

How would that change the dynamic of our interactions if we recognized each relationship as an opportunity to bring a message of hope, healing, deliverance and reconciliation? Even those people we have difficulty with…even those people who are already baptized believers…even those people who seem as though they could not care less about us…what if we viewed each relationship as an opportunity to bring a message of hope, love, joy, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation?

This will not always be easy, nor will it always be evident. But every where we go, each day of our lives, God wants to use us to help heal the sick, raise the “dead,” speak life, salvation, hope and deliverance. If we shun people, mistreat people, ignore people, treat people as “less than,” hold grudges against people etc., we will not be able to effectively carry that message. If we are cold and stoic, “sometimey” and easily offended, judgmental and mean spirited, we will not be able to effectively carry that message.

God is concerned about relationship. How are your relationships? Do you look for opportunities to represent Jesus in the best way possible? How are your relationships? Are you showing lost souls the compassion and Christ-like demeanor that shows forth the love of Jesus? How are your relationships? Do you only affiliate with “like minded” people or do you look for ways to reach the lost? Why not reconsider your relationships and your role, your assignment from on high today?

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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