When we fall we get up. When others fall, do we help them up? The true measure of a just society is one that lifts up its fallen. The best of people fall upon hard times. If we truly care for them, we will stand with those losing hope or who have lost hope. When I fell down, there were always friends there to lift me up. There is healing power in a cup of hot coffee and time spent caring for others.
When I worked in social services with The Salvation Army, I saw the living hell of many who come with fear begging to be loved and to even be given three days of food. When the Lord called me to look into their eyes, I saw in many an absence of light. They looked at least twice their age, worn and beaten down by their soul-killing, joy-stealing journey of poverty.
I found myself getting angry at this injustice to the poor, to those who simply were asking, even pleading for a hand up.
As I would pray for them, I asked my Lord questions about why there is such injustice in this world? Why are there those who turn a blind eye to the suffering of fellow human-beings? What will it take for people to change their attitudes towards the poor, that they are lazy good for nothings, bums who are a drain on the public treasury?
God heard my cries for those who suffer the inner, cold, agonizing and bitter death of a thousand indignities to their mind, body and spirit. He let me pour out my heartache for those who are treated with an injustice and inhumanity, that we as a people who should be compassionate, should be there to hold their hand with them through their suffering. We should help them where possible to find a way out of it.
When Christ called the disciples, it was not a call to pacifism, but rather a call to action. It was to stand up for those who were the victims of government and religious oppression. Our saviour had no time for half-hearted followers. His mandate was clear and direct. They would be fashioned into being messengers of salvation. Listen with your heart to Christ’s call when He selected His disciples.
“While he was walking by the lake of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon (Peter) and Andrew, casting their large net into the water. They were fishermen, so Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will teach you to catch men!”(Matthew 4:18-19, J.B. Phillips New Testament).
Christ, their Commander-in-Chief, gives them their marching orders. They are to go into a hurting world proclaiming the gospel. It is the good news that the rich and the poor can be saved, to know Christ not merely with their mind, but their whole heart.
Through three years of public ministry the resolve and the fortitude of the disciples is tested. Through wind, rain, and scorching desert sun, they are to work tirelessly for their Lord. Slackers and the faint of heart need not apply.
The Christ with the rough hands of the carpenter’s son, the Christ who loved all people, wants dedicated followers. They are to minister to suffering hearts and a sin-sick world. They would preach a gospel of hope and to call people to a purpose larger than themselves. They are to be ambassadors of the Word (John 1:1), that baby in a manger who grew up to be their Lord, their teacher and their constant companion of a love that no theologian, no human-being can truly ever fully describe. He is the light of Truth, God’s shining truth that the Light can conquer the darkness.
In each of us there is a light that comes from God. This light gives us hope in our hopelessness and strength in our adversity. It reignites the extinguishing fire of our energy when we feel we can go on no longer. I would not even attempt to describe what this light is like. It would be like trying to describe the grace of the voice of Josh Groban or the enrapturing beauty that is in the voice of Charlotte Church, or to say what makes Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring great.
The nail-pierced, rough, and yet loving hands of Christ call out to you today to be His ambassadors of hope in people’s lives. God has uniquely been shaping you for a call that no one else can fulfil. It is to be Christ’s hands and His feet. It is for all of us to stand up and be counted when we see injustice in any form, whether it is in our church or as we live our daily life.
Will you answer that holy call to service? There are people who need you to fight for them, to hold their hand in their storm, to see them through their times of pain and deepest anguish. They need you. They need me. They need Christ.
Let us resolve that one poor person in this world is one too many. One person in this world without the medications and treatments that they need, that could improve their health to work is one too many. One starving child, man or woman in this world is one too many. One student deprived of a scholarship or a bursary for their studies is one too many. One person living in the darkness and despair of abuse, addiction, prostitution and gambling is one too many.
Let us work, believe and pray together for a more caring society where everyone no matter how poor they are, is given an equal opportunity to more than just succeed in life. Let us do the hard roll up our sleeves work collectively that we would be facilitators of bringing joy into their lives, a joy that comes from knowing God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength.
What is our saviour saying to your heart today? What is He inspiring you to do? Come before Him in prayer and He will tell you. He’ll show you the way. The Christ who was clear in His directive to His disciples that they would be fishers of souls will not leave you in any doubt. If there is that tug in your spirit to engage in a certain ministry and everything lines up in God’s time, then I urge you to pursue with all vigour and determination that call upon your life.
When God calls hear Him with your heart as I did over 30 years ago. The Lord called me to end my half-hearted commitment to Him. He called me to accept the wonderful yet challenging call He put on my life to be an advocate of His Truth, and a counsellor of the heart. That was the day I accepted Christ into my heart and life.
As I knelt at the altar with tears pouring down on my face, I said as the counsellor knelt with me that my life was no longer my own. Christ owned it. My Commander-in-Chief would call the shots. I would follow Him even if the winds of adversity should come against me.
Would I change one thing in my journey of abuse from my schizo affective father, poverty and challenging health conditions? In my humanity, of course in a heartbeat I would. In my faith, that faith that can beat in every human heart submitted fully to God’s will, I would not change one thing. Why? Because that is my journey so I would understand the struggles and horrific pain that the abused experience, that those living in the misery of poverty suffer.
I pray with all of my heart that you will take time out of your busy schedule to hear your Lord’s call to your heart. Be hope for the hopeless. Hold the hands of those who need to be loved and accepted. Lift up the fallen.
My dear friends, let us all answer the call to be a caring people.