Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reaching the Unreached

As Jesus was giving instruction to his disciples, He made two pivotal points: (1) Love is the badge of every believer; and (2) go and make disciples of all nations.  Jesus was letting them know that their world would now include more than they had ever dreamed.  Though Jesus was a Jew, the work He came to do was to be a “global” work.  The time for elitism and exclusivity was over!  The Jews had such strict rules about access to God that they viewed everyone who was a non Jew as unworthy of salvation.  As Jesus interacted with all levels of society, He signaled to the world that a change was taking place.

In the Scripture, we find Jesus associating with some of the outcasts of that day.  With each one, He (Jesus) offered His special mercy and grace.  The leper, whose life was one of humiliation and isolation, found himself on the receiving end of the blessed touch of Jesus.  Not only was he to be healed – Jesus condescended to touch the very life of this tortured man.  The publicans were hated by the Jews, not because they were non-family members, but rather because they were seen as traitors who preyed on their own people financially.  Jesus, in His association with this group, let the world know that no matter how heinous the crime, one man can be forgiven.  The bent-over woman was another recipient of Jesus’ healing power.  A woman with a horribly twisted body made her way to Jesus.  He released this woman from her torment by word and touch to the amazement of the Jewish rulers.  He healed her on the Sabbath.  Again, Jesus was breaking barriers and giving entry to those who had no voice and no power. As believers, Jesus expects us to follow HIS example.  On His return to heaven, all the work that He did was left in our hands.

The Scripture records that Jesus reached out to everyone because all have worth to Him, Since He left specific instructions that we show love and make disciples, what is our role in this present world?  The lives of all people must be valuable to us as well.  We must see each person as God’s treasure, worthy of our time and effort.  This is not always an easy task for many rebuff our efforts to show love and compassion.  There are those who see our overtures as weakness or interference.  We cannot be put off by the encounter of negative attitudes because we know the message of love prevails and is life-changing, life-giving, and life-directing.  We must continue to reach out to those who have been cast aside by the world.  It means getting out of our comfort zones, if you will, looking past the unpleasant, and seeing the worth of those whom life and society have counted out or never even considered worthy.

We must look within ourselves to make certain that we do not harbor the same prejudices as the Jewish rulers.  Even those closest to Jesus proved to have lingering prejudices that continued to foster exclusivity.  The questions are: Do we think of ourselves too good to associate with those in need?  Are there those in our lives whom we feel are unworthy to receive God’s grace and love?  We are each much too flawed to sit in judgment of each other.  Our task is to reach out to all and let the light of Jesus’ love radiate wherever we are.
In close, I would like to share some words…

“Reach out and touch a soul that is hungry;
Reach out and touch a spirit in despair;
Reach out and touch a life torn and dirty,
A man who is lonely…if you care!
And let the smile of God touch through YOU.”

Charles F. Brown

Submitted by Sis. Carlotta M. Burton
12th day of January 2011

Sometimes reaching the unreached requires us to move out of our comfort zones, put aside our dislikes and prejudices, and see each person as a special creation of God.

This is shared with you today, to help people know that Jesus always has time for those in need.  No one is too unclean, too unworthy, or too misshapen to receive attention from Jesus.

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