I have a confession to make a weakness to expose: it is a weakness that was pre-disposed in me before I was created, the design of the Divine Mind who saw me before I had form and before He gave me life through one spoken Word. I need people. More specifically, I need people who are Christians because Jesus lives in them. I need the Jesus in you.
My needs are great, more than any one person can fill, which makes me thankful that we are a body and not just an organ. Jesus fills all the people in the church in every way and has given us every spiritual blessing through Jesus. That is a wonderful truth when you think about all the needs of the human heart. The list of my needs is very large, but I will focus on what is readily desired from a lonely heart companionship, encouragement, hope, and compassion.
This may not seem surprising coming from a missionary worker living in the barren desert of Mexico with few friends and lots of time working hard and alone. But would it surprise you if this heart's cry was coming from the hearts of those who are close to home and right where you are? It probably is if you listen carefully, you might hear it echoed in the words of some who regularly walk the corridors of the church. Unfortunately, it is an admission that is seldom heard and not really regarded as worthy of attention, especially when it comes from leaders and those who we might regard as being above approach or mature or more advanced than in us in their spirituality.
Really, though, we are all paupers in God's Kingdom. No one has really any claim on anyone else and no one has any real advantage ove any other person. Some of us "kids" may have been given more or less by our Heavenly Father, but that is at His discretion and He knows us best. Jesus leveled the playing field long ago. We are all equally his precious children, loved by God, in need of redemption, and in need of the constant intimate communion of His presence. It is no matter how such a relationship manifests in our life or not. After all, it's all to the glory of God and if it is not now then it WILL be.
I heard the echo of the heart cry for love in recent phone conversation with a Pastor friend. The words were shared in a different way, but the admission was there. Afterwards, I wondered that night if anyone else has heard his heart? Was anyone willing to care for this one who is one of their own?
Jesus is the comforter to those in the Spirit. "Blessed are all those who mourn now, for they will be comforted," He said (Matt 5:4). But He longs to be comfort us in the flesh as well. I think this is what inspired Paul the Apostle to write to the Corinthian church with these encouraging words: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (1Corinthians 1:3-4). Jesus needs willing bodies to bring His comfort to others.
This shouldn't be too surprising. After all, how are most of us comforted? Certainly God brings supernatural comfort as we pray to Him and listen to Him. But the people in our lives are one of the greatest resources for many things. I admit that I am comforted more readily by a conversation with a person or time spent with them eating tacos and sharing some ice cream than with God in prayer. It is not that we should be looking to people to comfort us at the exclusion of going to God. But we do no need to realize that we're humans and need other humans as well as God. And they need us.
Rather than looking primarily for ways to receive comfort, though, we should be looking for opportunities to comfort others just as much. Jesus simply and directly commands us to love others as we ourselves would want to be loved. This is the second commandment, no greater than the first: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus directs us to treat others with this admission [that they need companionship, encouragement, hope, and compassion] as human beings, worthy of our time, respect, encouragement in whatever form you can provide it.
Having regard for someone may be as simple as saying, "Hello" and smiling as you pass them in the hallway, taking time out of your busy schedule to share a meal, or sending them a letter or a thoughtful email. Or it could be as profound as sharing moments of prayer together for their benefit and not yours.
As one who has been away from the church in a place with little community, I am glad to admit that, due to a small faithful few, I feel like I've been among the church. I know the needs of which I write but also the joy of having friends and family meet these needs, even when far away. But how many of us, especially our leaders, can account for these needs being met?
The question is not "Have they been ministered to or been encouraged?" but "Have I done my part as a fellow Christian to meet the God-given needs they have as fellow members and as the leaders of my church? Have I loved my these as I do myself?" And if I can't consider some in my church as friends that I want to love, why is that? What is the cause behind my refusal to love?
The Apostle Paul again says that we have an outstanding debt that can never be repaid to love one another (Romans 13:8). This is an encouragement to always love and to take advantage of every opportunity to do so. The obligation and need to love other people will never go away. This is more than just an obligation, though. It is a debt that we have from Jesus, the only one who has no debt. "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propititation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. We love because He loved us" (1John 4:10, 11, 19).
God only asks for repayment of this debt though means that are not your own if you are one of His children your time, money, your own personhood. All the blessings, gifts, and abilities we enjoy come from Him. They are in fact His just as we really are!!!
This is a debt I am willing to pay continually - because God provides so abundantly and is so greatly generous with Himself and in His provision to us. There is always enough to share!! And, as John the Beloved said, it is by our love for one another that the world will know that we are Jesus' disciples.
I chiefly write poetry and a composer of worship songs. Currently I work for the California Dept. of Health. My faith journey began in college and has taken me into many parts of the Church and into missions work in Mexico where I self-published a newsletter. www.jesusexpressions.blogspot.com
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