May we be known by our generosity

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:12-14, NIV)

Lord, help us not to live for the reward now, but for the reward that is soul-deep and eternal. Let us trade off our weak search for “power” and “photo-ops” for that which gives life to others and brings us satisfaction that can only be from you.

 

Immigration

This particular article focusing on a Pentecostal leader and educator demonstrates the complexity of immigration. It also raises the question for me again, as a friend and I discussed last weekend, “Why are many who oppose immigration reform and treating immigrants better calling themselves Christian?” How do you do that?

We can have national security, but the nasty vitriol concerning immigrants themselves is needless. It is pointless, especially coming from those who profess Christ as Lord in their lives.

“Who is doing the greater danger to the rule of law?” he asked at the luncheon. “Immigrants? Or a Congress who knows the system is broken and won’t fix the laws or enforce them?” (Joe Castleberry)

If we are going to respond with bumper sticker answers like, “Build a wall!” or “Ship them all home!”, here are some bumper stickers to think about as well, for believers:

Are immigrants our “enemies?” Consider this bumper sticker: “Love your enemies. — Jesus” (Luke 6:27-36)

Are they NOT your enemies? That would make them your “neighbor.” Here is a bumper sticker: “Love your neighbor as yourself — Jesus” (Mark 12:31)

“For me as a Christian American, to be hostile to people from other places is to violate my spiritual mandate,” said Joe Fuiten, pastor emeritus of Cedar Park Church in Bothell, which has had thriving Iranian, Japanese and Spanish wings.

“Well, they’re not REALLY my neighbor. It’s not like they live down the street from me.”

Try reading this parable to gain perspective on who IS your neighbor, and how you can be a better one.

“But we could be letting in terrorists! We just don’t know!”

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Ps. 56:3)

We can disagree on things. Castleberry doesn’t favor amnesty. I would disagree with him. I favor a path to citizenship that identifies illegals in a way that would help keep those, for instance, who had visas expire but have lived law-abiding years, along with children brought here by families, etc. But many disagree on that as well.

The point is this: we need to sit down and reason together. We don’t throw political hand grenades.

“Sometimes social class values will outweigh religious perspectives,” Castleberry said, adding, “some, not all, working-class white people are taking the bait to blame immigrants for the so-called disappearance of the middle class.”

There are ways to find political solutions, but it is when we sit down and talk. That may seem impossible in today’s deeply divided politics. However, in the meantime, it should also mean we, as believers, find a way to ACT BETTER and with less nasty vitriol.

 

The deepest seat of our deepest emotions

When our “hearts” (which is our English way of describing an ancient concept of the “deepest seat of our deepest emotions”) belong to Christ, there is such wonderful, beautiful change.

Paul describes it in Colossians 3:12-17.

When Christ rules the deepest seat of my deepest emotions, anger is shoved away and love takes its place. Bitterness is crushed and compassion flows in its place. No more resentment. Out flows mercy and kindness.

Let my life be filled with his glory and lived for his glory.