Monday, October 5, 2015

If Not You, Who?

image used under Creative Commons license,
courtesy of user khym54
The tail end of July saw me a little north of Chicago, at Quentin Road Baptist Church, for a conference.  I was also trying to get a visit in with a friend who is part of their staff.  So, I went up a day or so early.  I was hoping for a little time with John, at the same time, avoiding having someone miss midweek service just to pick me up at the airport.  Teen camp had already begun and, with nothing going on at the church during the day on Wednesday, I got to join the teens for their morning Bible study and their lunch.  Our title was displayed on their camp t-shirts and onscreen.  It was the theme for the camp week.  Without us going through the entire series of Bible studies that were the underpinning of the camp theme, it still generated thoughts that led to this post.

Picture, if you will, some objective that requires a vote.  And there you are, actively supporting your side.  But someone has to rally those who would vote the same way you would.  And you may realize that no one has taken on that job, but figure someone will.  And the vote goes the wrong way.  That's a case of "If not you, who?" gone awry.  An assumption that others would take up the cause, thinking everyone else would.  Think about that relating to a couple of verses.

Luke 19:10 (KJV)  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Mark 16:15 (KJV)  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

We've pointed out, in a recent post, that Paul stating we're to be "followers of God" actually means to be His imitators, in Ephesians 5:1.  That's what the original language actually says.  Here we see Christ saying that He came to evangelize, to draw people into a relationship with God.  And then, He gives us a call to evangelize and disciple.

If we look at some churches, some seem to have missed that message.  I think we've all been to a church where the sermon was pretty blah and evangelism was nonexistent.  And it may have seemed like that church's idea of discipleship was limited to fellowship suppers.  It's time's and places like that that make us think of "If not you, who?".  They've missed that the Great Commission is also a command.  It's a marching order, not an option or request.  Though God does still leave us free will to obey or not.

There's another one to think about.

Matthew 26:11 (KJV)  For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

That's immediately after the disciples complained about the woman anointing Jesus with extremely expensive ointment, instead of the money being used for the poor.  From previous passages and the reported attitudes of Jesus, it seems out of place.  Jesus wasn't into excess and public displays.  But is it really out of place?  We have plenty examples of Jesus meeting needs.  Let's think of all of that not in contrast to this statement, but rather as foundation.

When we realize that Jesus was never inconsistent, that verse takes on new depth.  Consider that He wasn't really contrasting dealing with those in need to His anointing.  Instead, we need to understand that He was showing the disciples that we need to have our spiritual priorities in order. If we're rightly related to God, then our sights are set on eternity.  Our concern is our and their souls and their eternal condition.

When we've fully latched onto eternity, then we become followers and imitators of Christ.  And, having taken on the nature of the Most High, no one looks to us about evangelism and asks "If not you, who?".  When there's need for discipleship, they don't ask "If not you, who?".  And the natural extension of that is our next move being to meet earthly needs, too.  So, no one asks "If not you, who?". Dealing with poverty, prejudice, physical ailments, etc. becomes a part of who we are because of the love that comes from fully being one with Christ.  We draw people to the right spiritual reality, then work on the earthly reality.  So.  If not you, who?

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