Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
By: Pastor Lars Janssen
A woman asked for prayer for her homeless daughter.
A confused young man wandered up to the door looking for something—but his addled mind couldn’t express what it was.
A malnourished teenager held up a sign asking for money.
A young girl wondered if anyone cared about her at all.
A dishevelled man called out for help from the side of the street.
A chronically ill woman didn’t know where to turn as her disease devoured her body and her savings.
The father of a terminally ill child begged for help in his desperate search for hope.
A young couple with no place to go had to sleep in a barn with their newborn.
Are these images familiar to you? Take a moment and read them over again. Have you seen these people, or people like them, in Brantford? The first four have been a part of my experience over the last few months here in Brantford. The last four were a part of Jesus’ experience during his time on earth.
The dishevelled man in Mark 11:47-52 called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped, talked to him, and helped him.
The chronically ill woman in Mark 5:25-34 snuck up on Jesus and touched him without permission. Jesus’ response was to stop and turn around so that he could talk to her and help her.
The sick child’s father in Mark 5:21-43 begged on his knees for Jesus’ help. Jesus went with him immediately, talked to him, and helped his daughter.
The young couple with the newborn in Luke 2:6-7 were Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. Jesus stopped what he had been doing in Heaven to be born as a human, to grow into a man who would talk to us and help us.
This makes me ask myself, Do I stop what I’m doing to talk and help?
Several people once asked Jesus if they could finish up what they were doing before they followed him. Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head … No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:58,62). These may seem like hard words, but they are simply acknowledging reality. If I love Jesus more than anything else, service in his kingdom is my highest prize. Why would I put it off?
Let me remind you, Central family, of some of the things we’ve agreed on together.
In our Church Covenant, we “most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another…to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expense of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.”
In our Statement of Faith, we say that our church family ought to be “exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His word” (Article 13 “The Church”).
What does it look like to contribute and exercise your gifts in your context?
May we find joy this Christmas season in the way Jesus stopped as a baby in Bethlehem, talked to us through his life’s teaching, and helped by his saving work on the cross. It’s often uncomfortable for us to stop, talk, and help like Jesus. It was uncomfortable for him too, but Jesus did just that for us.
How will you stop, talk, and help like Jesus this week?