Jesus’ Loving Presence in the World—You! - page 3


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From the Summer 2015 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Jesus' Loving Presence in the World–You!

by Chris Sicks
Associate Pastor of Mercy, Alexandria Presbyterian Church

 
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  As bad as his leprosy was, Naaman’s sin problem was worse. God used leprosy to expose Naaman’s true problem—a proud, rebellious heart that needed cleansing. Naaman’s heart was as numb as his hands. Without his leprosy, Naaman would never have traveled to Israel, obeyed Elisha’s instructions to jump in the river, or listened to the little slave girl who told him where healing could be found.
  Naaman was powerful and rich. The girl was powerless and penniless. He was a general with great freedom. She was a slave with no freedom. The girl had little of her own to offer Naaman. How about you? Do you know the Source of true help for the hurting?
  At a time when Israel had abandoned the worship of Yahweh and chased after foreign gods, this slave girl retained her faith. At a time when Israel had failed to be “a light for the nations” (Isaiah 49:6), this young girl became a light of hope in Damascus. It wasn’t her light. She simply reflected the light of God’s truth in a dark place so that Naaman could see.
  Are you outnumbered by nonbelievers in your neighborhood, school, family, or workplace? Remember that as a member of God’s household, you are His instrument. You are not alone. Wherever you are now, know that you don’t have to be a big shot or have all the answers to the problems of those around you. That Israelite girl did not know how to cure leprosy, but she knew where to point Naaman. As God’s child, she was tapped into the Source of all healing and hope, and that made her useful to God right where she was. Where will God use you?   

Open Your Eyes and Your Heart

  God is calling some of His children to move overseas to bring healing and hope to the slums and dark places of the world. Many of us, however, are called to remain right where we are.
  Perhaps you are living in a nice community in the suburbs. It’s not wrong to live there. But it is wrong to let your comfortable life insulate you from the needs of people around you.4
  Next Saturday before you take your children to soccer practice or the playground, why not ask God how He could use you there?
  Maybe you are a student or work in an office somewhere. What if you prayed for the people you see every week and asked the Lord to open doors into their lives? I guarantee some of them are struggling with something right now. You carry the light of the world with you (see Matthew 5:14–16)! Don’t smother it, because there are needy people everywhere, even if they don’t appear to have needs. Nicholas Wolterstorff writes:

We live in a time and place where, over and over, when confronted with something unpleasant we pursue not coping but overcoming. Often we succeed. Most of humanity has not enjoyed and does not enjoy such luxury. Death shatters our illusion that we can make do without coping. When we have overcome absence with phone calls, winglessness with airplanes, summer heat with air-conditioning—when we have overcome all these and more besides, then there will abide two things with which we must cope: the evil in our hearts and death.5

  Today, Christianity is growing dramatically among the world’s poorest people. They know their need. The wealthy, on the other hand, often fail to see how Jesus is relevant to their lives. That’s the point Jesus makes in Mark 10:25: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Did Jesus mean the door of heaven is closed to the rich? Of course not. The rich are just better cushioned from reality; they don’t know how needy they truly are. Do you know anyone like that?

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