This past Sunday morning at The Station, I had the opportunity to preach a message in our Christmas at the Movies series. The particular movie we looked at this past Sunday was The Grinch. If you’d like to listen to this message, click here. The Grinch was a mean one, for sure! After all, his heart was tw0 sizes too small. But when he realized that Christmas was much more than getting gifts, his heart actually grew three times larger! That gave him a heart that was bigger than normal! I believe that should be true of believers in Christ as well. We ought to have the biggest hearts of all. After preaching this message on having a compassionate heart, I received this blog from one of our ladies, Angel Moore. Angel is a wonderful leader and we are blessed to have her and her family at The Station Church. I asked her if it was okay if I share her words with you through my blog. I appreciate her allowing me to share this incredibly insightful blog post and I pray it blesses and challenges you like it did me and I pray that God grows each of our hearts three sizes!
Jesus was MOVED with compassion because He was accessible and close to the people and their situations. What about us? Are we accessible to those hurting or needing help? Are we MOVED with compassion or are we RE-moved by our walls and pre-existing plans? I read about Christ and how He was among the people. He didn’t wall Himself in a church or temple, but He WENT to where the people were. The first word of the great commission is GO but in our American Christian culture, we have changed that word to COME. We want those who are lost or hurting to come to us, but the Bible says to go to them – where they are! We should go to where they live, work, play, eat, drink…Jesus did! But we don’t want to ruin our own “spotless” or “righteous” reputations by being seen in a bar or or other places where “sinners” might be found. No, we think it is safer for us to stay in our church bubble and “invite” sinners to come to us. How arrogant of us! Let’s step outside of ourselves for a moment and think about how we would feel in the reverse situation. What if someone would only connect with you if you did or went to them, not the other way around. From the get-go it seems like they think they are better than you. Jesus didn’t do that! And He IS better than you…and me, and any of us! But He didn’t require others to come to Him, He WENT to them! As we are commanded to do. And what about His reputation? Well, He had a pretty bad one among the church leaders of His day! They called Him a friend of sinners! How could He allow His reputation to be soiled like that? Well, because He was not looking for the approval of man, but the approval of His Father!
I watched the new Star Wars movie (huge Star Wars fan here) recently and watched in amazement at how Princess Leia, (now General Leia) is so accessible to her people. It is so different from what we see in our culture- politicians, celebrities, pro-athletes….we hold them on such a high pedestal that they are removed from people. Their people! The people they claim to serve or perform for. So as I watched Princess Leia be among and accessible to her people, I watched in awe! It was so cool to see her listen to their ideas! It was amazing to see her not reject anyone coming near her because of her title verses theirs. And she didn’t demand anything from them – not a bow or curtsy. She led them because she cared for them, not because she cared for herself and how high she could be elevated. Remind you of anyone? Watching her immediately made me picture Jesus. I pictured Him with the little children. The disciples wanted Him to be like ancient day leaders or our modern day politicians and celebrities – where He would be unapproachable for certain people, but Jesus quickly rebuked them saying, Let the children come to me! In saying this, He was saying let the least of these come to me! In Biblical times, there was a distinct hierarchy among men, women, and children of which children were considered of least important to the point where they weren’t even counted at events or addressed in public, but Jesus said, LET THEM COME! He wanted to be among them. He was accessible to them. The Creator of the Universe in human form, made Himself accessible to ALL! Yet – how many of our own Church Leaders aren’t even accessible? How many of us – church goers aren’t accessible to anyone we deem less important than ourselves? In our culture it’s all we know – through watching politicians, celebrities, and all powerful people (CEOS, COMPANY PRESIDENTS, etc), it’s the common model – to rise above. Once you’ve become important enough you don’t have to be accessible to those who got you where you are! And sure, they make themselves accessible for photo opps, or special meetings, but not as a daily way of life. In their daily lives they are much too important to be bothered by unimportant people or matters. They only take calls from those who are “important” or make plans to do things that are “important.” I mean it’s only human! But Jesus wasn’t just human, He was God too! He had more of a reason than anyone to only be interested in “important” people or things, but instead of elevating Himself, He humbled Himself! Unfortunately we see leaders in our culture take a different path – to exalt themselves. Even in church – the very ones who are trying to draw people to Christ! They teach a Christ who was accessible to all, yet they themselves are only accessible to the select few (those whose names or titles have previously been given to their assistants to allow them to talk to).
I am not trying to pick on anyone or condemn anyone. Unfortunately, it’s our human nature and its natural in our world to get to this place when other people think you are important. The problem is that we shouldn’t look like the world! We shouldn’t be ok with natural or the norm. The problem with being removed from people is that we let our focus become about an event or an organization. We may be doing a lot of “good” reaching masses, and helping large organizations with big buildings or big checks, but are we touching the one? Are we moved with compassion? The sad thing about the masses is that they become faceless to us. Even though we may be helping many (on the surface), our hearts become removed from the individual (and their deeper needs). Maybe we’re not MOVED with compassion because we’re RE-moved from those who need compassion. Jesus looked into the eyes of the woman at the well and into the eyes of the lame man who couldn’t walk. He not only looked into the eyes, but also wept with the sister of the man He raised from the dead and He rejoiced with the father of the boy of whom He cast out demons. One by one, He touched them because He WENT to them, He was AMONG them, and He was MOVED by compassion!
Let us GO, let us be ACCESSIBLE as a FRIEND of sinners, and let us be MOVED to do something BIG in the life of ONE – just one who needs compassion, so that they can see through us into the eyes of Jesus!–Angel Moore