We would ask individuals or families to allow some time to pass before the individual received help a second time. Exceptions could be made. And, if a person or family needed help a third time in a calendar year, we would agree to do so with this condition –the individual or the couple would agree to submit themselves to spiritual and financial care in order to address the root causes of the problem. Grace and accountability.
I am certainly not saying this works everywhere, but we are called to do something. To be a loving people who are thankful for what God has given them, and to want to share this blessing with others, while holding them accountable to humanity and to their heavenly Father—is to imitate Jesus.
Furthermore, to address sin, its symptoms and its consequences, is to be like God. Ministry, with all of its nuts and bolts, can often be far from glamorous. It may mean we receive little thanks from those we help. Still, should we expect anything more? After all, don't we need the challenge of Scripture, the encouragement from each other, to remind ourselves to give God thanks?
I do believe in giving God the glory, in living for him, we can make a huge difference in the place that we live. And why not dream? After all, we have hospitals today because of Christians in antiquity offering God’s hospitality to those sick and dying. That's how much their witness impacted the world. I believe the greatest impact to ministry to the poor will be done by Christians.
I want to end by pointing to a recently released movie that depicts what I am talking about. As WORLD magazine recently declared, Sean and Leigh Ann Tuohy were a couple blessed with much financial success. As faithful disciples of Jesus, they developed as a family motto, "To whom much is given, much is required."
Sean Tuohy grew up in the projects of New Orleans. He knew little. Later, he knew much. He and Leigh Ann came across a young man, who had been attending their children’s Christian school. He was homeless.
The movie THE BLIND SIDE does a fine job of showing how Sean and Leigh Ann brought Michael into their home. They loved him and offered him grace. They held him accountable to become what God had made him to be.
The movie restrains itself in terms of demonstrating the extent that the Tuohy’s faith, and their church, played in the growth of Michael Oher. Still, this movie offers us an inspiring, visual illustration in terms of loving people more than our relationships with them.
We don’t have to use people, even when something so innocent as giving money or help, to help us deal with our anxiety about God, or to help us feel better about our selves. We can truly be Christ-like in our love. We can emulate the Son of God who came to earth because He loved us more than we love ourselves.
Five things I think I think (a tip of the hat to Peter King for this idea)
1. We are enjoying a beautiful holiday season in my sister’s home in Lake Stevens, Washington. I cannot believe the beauty of the Northwest. Every time I am up here I am in awe.
2. Hope you got what you wanted for Christmas. I am grateful to receive this trip, 6 DVDs of great ballgames from times past, and a Texas sweatshirt.
3. The news sure seems grow quieter during Christmas week. That is not a bad thing.
4. It is always good to see the staff of the Northwest Church of Christ when I am up here. I always gather new ideas from them.
5. Before we leave, we must observe the required viewings of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE and WHITE CHRISTMAS.
Merry Christmas to All