Friday, October 14, 2011

When "Scum Of The Earth" Becomes A Cherished Title

When I write I try my best to remain positive because we serve an awesome God who overcomes everything. Why be negative when nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus and when he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world? It's really amazing when you stop to consider it for a moment. What is there to be negative about? Except that we tend to err on the side of stupidity. We tend to shift everything so it is always about us, whereas our awesome, incredible, magnificent Saviour said that it isn't about us.

For some reason we have lost the understanding that we are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ and not vice versa. His place in the Kingdom is not to wait on our every little want but our place is as friend/servant/warrior, living in obedient action to him. Jesus already told us not to worry about our own needs because our Father has that covered, but we are to seek the Kingdom things, which is the salvation of the lost. He said it would be tough, but warriors don't go home because it is raining or cold or snowing or because the enemy is calling them names. Warriors press on because that is their purpose.

Perhaps a few words from the Apostle Paul would be appropriate at this time to wake us up from our spoiled little lives. He was answering a letter from the Corinthians where they had been boasting about all they had achieved without Paul's guidance. You will have to excuse him but the Apostle uses some sarcasm in his reply:

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings—and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! (1 Corinthians 4:8-10)

This reminds me of those Christians who never stick there necks out, who never get their hands dirty, who never take "risks" but criticize those that do. They sit in their little "palaces" spouting off about prosperity and looking down on those who weather trials and hardships for the name of Jesus. Well you know what? If you are doing it right then those trials and hardships are just par for the course. Jesus said so.

Christianity is not about building huge congregations and developing professional teaching ministries and writing hundreds of books. It is not about measuring success with the same instruments as this world. Christianity is about paying the cost to love the unlovable. It's about taking the risk of rejection and persecution. It is the willingness to be laughed at because of love. It is the desire to lose it all in order to gain it all. Are we better than the apostles?

To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. (1 Corinthians 4:11-13)

The refuse of the world. Right now, around the planet, people are mobilizing to protest against the economic system that seems to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. What about the spiritual condition of this world that has robbed people of their soul and has allowed such heartlessness to exist. The protesters are sacrificing work hours, sleepless nights, the rain and the cold to bring their message to the World. What are we sacrificing, giving up, risking for the sake of the greater message that Jesus saves? Most of us are too afraid to even talk about Jesus to our friends because of the risks involved. How will we ever bring the message to the world?

Right now, today even, Christians are being arrested, beaten, thrown into prison, even killed because of the name of Jesus. These Christians consider the message more important than their lives. What about us here in the Americas? Is Jesus more important than our luxuries, our comfort, our lives?

When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.

And we wonder where the spiritual maturity has gone to. Maturity happens when we are able to consider everything a loss for the sake of knowing Jesus. It's time to get some dirt on our hands. Talk about Jesus today with everyone you meet.

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