Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
A few years ago it was common to say that if you didn’t post a social media status about your workout, you didn’t exercise. There might even be a little truth to that. I, for example, have never posted a status from a gymnasium, except when I have been there for a purpose other than exercise. My physique may reflect it.
In Hebrews 13, the first five verses speak of caring for strangers and the poor, showing hospitality, caring for people who are imprisoned, guarding against sexual immorality, and being content. That’s a really big order! If we are busy about those matters we probably won’t have much time to get into any sort of trouble. It’s the kind of thing that should characterize the Christian life.
Uh-oh. This is beginning to look like a post that will lead to laying a guilt trip onto people who haven’t loved their neighbor like “this unbelievably spiritual and creative persyn who actually lives out their faith!” Let the wise reader understand the words in quotation marks. I’m not going to go there. You know why? It’s because the vast majority of Christians through a tremendous portion of history have poured out their lives, caring for strangers, feeding and clothing the hungry and poor, welcoming people into their homes, visiting those who are sick and in prison, living a healthy life within the bounds of marriage, and doing it all with remarkably little care about riches, honor, or social and political power! Have you not heard of them? In fact, you probably haven’t heard of the individuals, but you may know some of the institutions. This is by design.
Consider the charity hospital. Reflect on the orphanage that takes in troubled and sick children knowing that they may never be adopted. Think about the plague hospitals of bygone eras and in the developing world. We hear of organizations that gather just a few thousand dollars to build a school in the developing world. Do we ever think about the people who go and teach there for virtually no money, sometimes also not having adequate food out of concern for the students? What of the charitable legal defense fund which has top-notch lawyers who are working for a fraction of their value in the general market? What about the charitable program which seeks out safe water sources for villages using engineering techniques that would otherwise cost hundreds of thousands of dollars? We almost never hear of the people who are doing the work. Have no doubt. They are there, laboring away in obscurity, many of them motivated by the love of Christ for those in need. They wouldn’t post a self-glorifying status because they are too busy helping their neighbors. They have busied themselves with showing brotherly love. It’s what the world needs.
My prayer in writing this meditation on Hebrews 13 is that some of my readers, including myself, will find themselves more motivated to serve, less motivated to draw attention to themselves. May the Lord have mercy on us.
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