by Mike Barres
Recently we had someone pass through our town, and they stopped at our church to receive some help. We were able to help them, and this person attended a couple of our church services.
God reminds us to reach out to those in need:
"'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'" (Matthew 25:38-40)
The Holy Spirit says, "He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished." (Proverbs 17:5)
This person also joined us one afternoon for our weekly prayer time. At the end of it, he said, "It's so nice to come to a place where you are loved, with no strings attached."
Do we offer love with strings attached?
What if we helped people with the requirement that they come to church?
I have heard of churches that discontinued their benevolence programs because the people never came to church. That sure wasn't "no strings attached help."
Do we expect something in return when we do things for people?
Let's love, "with no strings attached," as unto the Lord. I once was a part of an outreach that did "Random Acts of Kindness." We handed out cold drinks to teens on the street and even gave roses to all the women in an office. We would say, "This is a gift from ... (add the name of the church) with no strings attached."
Some churches have outreach programs to children and teens mid-week. Sometimes they have a difficult time getting them to come to church on Sunday.
Is that ok? Are we willing to reach out to them anyway, if they don't come Sundays?
"But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful." (Luke 6:32-36)
(c) 2006 Mike Barres
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