In one sense, it’s sad that things like this happen.
It’s sad that it takes up time and therefore resources at a time when both are badly needed to deal with the physical disaster that is Hurricane Harvey.
And yet –
we can only hope that some of us will be awakened by things like this.
The Twitter post below is like the poster child for something I’ve written about before – “Why the government can’t save you”.
Given the reports that Joel Osteen apparently closed his church – formerly a professional basketball arena – for the safety of it’s members, and didn’t open it for the safety of people affected by Hurricane Harvey i it would be easy to pick on him.
Given that Joel Osteen claimed access to the Lakewood church was impossible, but pictures posted showed that wasn’t true – it would be easy to pick on him.
Given that he said his Lakewood church was “prepared to house people once shelters reach capacity” – it would be easy to pick on him. Somehow, I have a hard time believing that Jesus would have been satisfied with an approach of letting the Romans take care of people first – and His followers would step in only after the Romans had exhausted all their resources.
Given the image to the right, posted on twitter by @MommaJacy, – it would be easy to pick on him.
For better or for worse, Jesus did leave us to be the ones to spread the Gospel and to care for His church.
Sometimes, we see that it’s for the better.
Other times, we see that it’s for the worst.
Faith, and prayer, are good – but remember what James said –
Jas 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Yes – it sounds like I’m picking on Joel Osteen. Sounds like I’m even judging him.
But what about –
7:3-5 pp — Lk 6:41, 42
Mt 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Mt 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Mt 7:6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”
In fact, because of this passage, I almost didn’t write anything.
But, if I did that, how do I respond to something like this – posted on twitter by @Beccanurse?
Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
So I’m not picking on Joel Osteen.
I’m reminding us – all of us – that God really did leave us to take care of things for Him. Yes – with the Holy Spirit – but still with us as the physical beings allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us.
Instead, I’m going to expand on yet another tweet – this one from @MzValeriaJ –
A couple notes here –
- God isn’t just pushing Joel Osteen – God is pushing all of us. After all, every Christian has been given the task of spreading God’s Word and bringing people to His church – whether it be a literal building, or the original definition of the church as a group of believers.
- That Lakewood church does not belong to Joel Osteen. It belongs to God. As does every Christian church building. When we lose sight of the fact that they belong to God, then we need to ask ourselves – what does this, from James, mean –
Jas 1:16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
If we think “our” church (either definition) belongs to us – does that mean we disavow any belief in this passage from God’s Word – or does it mean we don’t think our church is a gift from God?
One more time –
Mt 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
So – as I remove the plank out of my own eye, I invite you to also check your own eyes.
If you’re doing something – living out your faith – awesome.
If not – well – that’s not something for me to judge – it’s between you and God.
Either way – and no matter which side of this tragedy we are on –
Mt 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mt 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Mt 5:5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Mt 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Mt 5:7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Mt 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Mt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Mt 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mt 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.