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A little quote from Cal Thomas:
It is now possible to live a “Christian life” without doing the things that Jesus commanded us to do. We have hired people to go into all the world, to visit those in prison, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to care for widows and orphans.
The average Christian doesn’t have to do it.
Looking at that list he gives, I don’t think I actually do any of those. And that’s pretty concerning, because the Bible pretty much commands Christians to do them all, and I do think that I’m a Christian. Apparently a very disobedient one.
I suppose the point is that although I don’t personally hand over clothes to naked people, I do give money to people who do, so the question is: Does that count?
A couple of years ago I was reading Paul’s letter to Philemon. The letter relates to Philemon’s slave who had run away but had since become a Christian and had started serving Paul instead. Paul sent the slave back to Philemon with this letter, which says ‘I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord.’ (Philemon 1:14)
Now this really struck me. Philemon’s runaway slave serving Paul without his knowledge was still counted as Philemon’s goodness. Do you find that interesting too?
So what I think that means is that if I’m ‘going into all the world’ through the medium of giving to a church planting organisation rather than me physically climbing onto a plane, in God’s eyes that still counts.
The conclusion of this, therefore, would be that the guy who gives the most money to the most charities is being the most obedient, and that’s simply wrong. So for me it seems that the true Christian life demands sacrifice: sacrifice of time, sacrifice of effort, sacrifice of possessions, sacrifice of money, sacrifice of relationships.
I wonder how much like the New Testament church the church today looks.