“God is the shaper of your heart. God does not display his work in abstract terms. He prefers the concrete, and this means that at the end of your life one of three things will happen to your heart: it will grow hard, it will be broken, or it will be tender. Nobody escapes.” —Ravi Zacharias
My Grandad bought a bakery just before the Great Depression hit.
Dad once told me he could remember his first job was scraping raisins off the floor.
Later, he shared stories of what he called, “the endless sea of men” who were drifting across this country looking for work.
He said, “Every day, men would drift into the bakery from the hobo jungles of L. A.
They would sleep in the orange orchards and then come looking for work, or just a few stale rolls of bread for something to eat.”
Grandad came to realize that God had led him to buy that bakery with a definite Kingdom purpose in mind. Dad said, “Every day your grandfather led men to Christ with just a simple bag of fresh rolls as he told them about ‘The Bread of Life.'”
What shall I do?
It is so easy to become paralyzed by the size of a problem isn’t it?
We think that somehow the enormity of the dilemma excuses us from doing anything at all.
But, isn’t the Bible brimming over with stories of personal responsibility?
Does God really let us off the hook with a helpless, “But, what can I do?”
Is that what Jesus taught?
Loving God, Loving Others ~ The Passion Translation
Just then a religious scholar stood before Jesus in order to test his doctrines. He posed this question: “Teacher, what requirement must I fulfill if I want to live forever in heaven?”
Jesus replied, “What does Moses teach us? What do you read in the Law?”
The religious scholar answered, “It states, ‘You must love the Lord God with all your heart, all your passion, all your energy, and your every thought. And you must love your neighbor as well as you love yourself.’”
Jesus said, “That is correct. Now go and do exactly that and you will live.”
Open hands and merciful heart?
Wanting to justify himself, he questioned Jesus further, saying, “What do you mean by ‘my neighbor’?”
Jesus replied, “Listen and I will tell you. There was once a Jewish man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho when bandits robbed him along the way. They beat him severely, stripped him naked, and left him half dead.
“Soon, a Jewish priest walking down the same road came upon the wounded man. Seeing him from a distance, the priest crossed to the other side of the road and walked right past him, not turning to help him one bit.
“Later, a religious man, a Levite, came walking down the same road and likewise crossed to the other side to pass by the wounded man without stopping to help him.
“Finally, another man, a Samaritan, came upon the bleeding man and was moved with tender compassion for him. He stooped down and gave him first aid, pouring olive oil on his wounds, disinfecting them with wine, and bandaging them to stop the bleeding. Lifting him up, he placed him on his own donkey and brought him to an inn. Then he took him from his donkey and carried him to a room for the night.
Fearless generosity or Pharisee’s enticement?
The next morning he took his own money from his wallet and gave it to the innkeeper with these words: ‘Take care of him until I come back from my journey. If it costs more than this, I will repay you when I return.’
So, now, tell me, which one of the three men who saw the wounded man proved to be the true neighbor?”
The religious scholar responded, “The one who demonstrated kindness and mercy.”
Jesus said, “You must go and do the same as he.”
Let me ask a couple of questions,
“Are we the Good Samaritan who acted with fearless generosity?”
“Are we living like the religious Pharisee who lived for the enticement of the crowd?”
Who rules my heart?
I have often had to ask myself,
What rules your heart Molly—is it fear, or is it faith?
Is it Jesus, or am I kowtowing to the religious-popular opinions of others?
Am I trying to gain favor by cringing fearfully before those who hold beliefs contrary to what Jesus teaches?
Maybe the real question is, “Would Jesus say I’m a fearless Samaritan, or would He weep, and say I’m something different?”
These are tough questions, for sure.