Wednesday, March 16, 2005
JESUS IS A VERB
JESUS IS A VERB- by Keith Giles
A few days ago I helped put together an ambitious project to serve the poor, the least and the forgotten of Orange County, California. As part of a weekend Conference on God’s heart for the poor, we had put together four different locations where people could step in and serve others. There was one team that visited a local Senior Home, sang Hymns, and prayed over these dear ones while another team set up in the back parking lot of a motel where entire families live because they can’t survive on their minimum wage jobs, barely able to keep their heads above water. This team brought a bounce house for the kids to play on and provided free ice cream sundaes for everyone. They played games, gave out free toys, sang worship songs and shared the love of Jesus with them. Several young children at the motel service bowed their little heads and asked Jesus to come and live in their hearts.
On the other side of the freeway another team was passing out bags of free groceries to the residents of an apartment building. These families were just one step away from those in the motels, barely able to keep their families fed and rent paid. We passed out bread, eggs, rice, beans, various meats to those in line, and we prayed for their needs at the end of the line while their kids jumped on the bounce house and enjoyed their free popsicles.
While I was observing the service at the apartment I noticed the manager standing off to the side with tears in his eyes. I walked over and we started to talk about what was happening. He shared with me that, in his home country of Guatemala they have a saying that summed up what we were doing this day. “Jesus is a verb,” he said. “Don’t tell me you love Jesus…show me you love Jesus.” He continued to share with our team about how we were the first to ever do anything like this. “Others have brought food and left quickly, but you are the first to stay and sing songs and pray with them,” he said. Then he invited us to come back every month if we could.
So much about this weekend of serving the forgotten and the poor has touched me. I’m especially excited that our church seems to be catching this vision for looking outward. The Church has done an amazing job of creating programs that fulfill the needs of those within the four walls. We have Book Clubs and Home Groups and Men’s Groups and on and on. Those are wonderful things. The church is called to make disciples and without these sorts of gatherings it would be nearly impossible to accomplish. However, if we forget to look outward, to those poor and lonely and forgotten among us, how can we really call ourselves followers of this guy Jesus? All he ever did was see the small, the outcast, the poor, the broken and the lost. All he ever did was embrace them, heal them, pray for them, serve them and love them. For us to be followers of this Jesus we must look and act like Him.
“This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:5-6
When someone’s words match their actions we call that “Integrity”. When words and actions don’t line up, we call that “Hypocrisy”. Perhaps what has hindered the Gospel most in the Western World has been this apparent disconnect between the teachings of Jesus and the lives of those who claim to follow after Him.
What the world needs most, I believe, is to see the people of God start to act like the people of God. What they desire most is to experience the love that Jesus said His disciples would embody. What’s needed now is for those who are called by the name of Christ to step out of their comfort zones and live out the values that they say they embrace.
The promise of The Gospel is that “The Word of God has become flesh and dwelt among us”. God has come near. God is with us. Jesus became the ultimate verb. He is the ultimate example of Love in Action.
This is the sort of Love that transforms us. It makes us into agents of change ourselves.
Our calling is to carry the verb and act out the words of our Lord. For all those thousands of years before the Cross, God told his people that He loved them. Then, in the form of the Incarnation, He put that love into action and expressed this amazing love in the flesh. This is a great mystery. Even the angels long to look into these things.
What’s even more challenging is that He then asks us to love others the way He has loved us. That’s putting Jesus into action.
“Show me you love Jesus, don’t just tell me you love Him.”
“We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20