Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Shepastor: "Going Beyond the Call of the Required..."

46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5: 46-48

Recently I participated in the installation service of a colleague at a local church. The guest speaker gave an intriguing message entitled, “The Glory of the Unrequired.” The thrust of his message was to encourage the newly installed pastor to avoid the “do only the required” mentality. He suggested that in every way, God went beyond what was required in creation of the world, in creation of humanity and certainly in His lavish love, mercy and grace for us exemplified by the sacrifice of His only Son.

In this passage of scripture, Jesus admonishes his followers to go beyond the “required.” We are not required to love those who don’t love us. But our faith calls us to show love, mercy and grace to the un-loveable. We are not required to show hospitality and kindness to those we don’t know, but our faith calls us to reach out and show compassion and kindness to those we don’t know.

Particularly in this difficult and divided climate in our Nation, God is calling the Church to go beyond the required. We have a marvelous opportunity to show what God’s love truly looks like. We have the opportunity to show mercy to the foreigner (literally), to stand up for the rights of those we may not even know, and to go the extra mile of the way to show a willingness to “hear” those who may have misused us.

Going beyond what is required is not easy. But living out true greatness never is. God’s people are peculiar, royal and priestly. May we, by faith, walk boldly in that peculiarity today.

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

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