Every once in a while we get the opportunity to take a real look into this world. And, even if only for an instant, we see how many people there are that need someone to shine a light into their lives.
Every once in a while we see a glimpse of a smile from a face that we thought was chiseled into a frown by experiences of war, loss, poverty, disappointment and fear. And, every once in a while, we allow God to light our hearts with the Holy Spirit’s loving fire and ignite a passion in us that drives us to engage in whatever it takes to bring light and hope to every human being on this planet. To do whatever it takes to free that smile that we know is buried by life. But maybe “every once in a while” is just not enough!
Jesus Christ is God. He took on flesh. He came into this dark world from a place of unimaginable light. He walked this earth like every one of us do every day and He experienced all the things we do. He knew betrayal, pain, suffering, and an excruciating death on the cross—all of this from the very people He loved and came to save. And in the book of Hebrews the scriptures say that, “for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2b NIV).
For the “joy” He did this. Please get that: Jesus, our Savior, our God, our Creator, counted it joy to invest everything in us. That is why we call it the “Passion of the Christ,” because nothing was going to get in the way of God manifesting His love for us through His own suffering so that we might have light and so that we might find our joys that have been buried by the realities of life.
What could be more Christ-like than to love with that kind of passion? To be willing to invest everything that we are for the sake of others? That is a truly romantic idea so…are you driven to that? How we invest in this world is a direct reflection of how passionate and driven we really are.
As a Christian pastor, I worry that many of us just “help” because it’s what is expected of us, or “give” for reasons that are not driven by a passionate love for God and others. There are actually “Christians” who say we should give because then God will bless you with more money. I’m not sure there could be a more un-Jesus like statement made!
Paul wrote, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7 NIV). Give, give of yourself, give of your resources; but give because you are driven to save this world and you believe in God and love mankind enough to invest in them. God loves a “cheerful” giver, the one who sacrifices everything for others and counts it joy.
Nelson Mandela once said, “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Through God we are able to live lives that bring light into creation. We serve an infinitely big God, we live in a world with big problems; maybe it’s time for the body of Christ to go big or go home. Let nothing get in the way of us going big.
To find out more about La Vista Church, or to hear this and other messages, visit our website at www.lavistanaz.org or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet at 9 a.m. Sundays for Sunday school and at 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!