Friday, July 20, 2012

Almost Knowing Chuck Norris

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’  “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’  “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:44-46

I was having fun with a friend this last week as we were talking about people we ALMOST know.  It works like this:  I almost know Chuck Norris, actor and martial arts expert, and celebrity.  You see, I know Bob Nuttall.  Bob, a resident of Parker County, was the owner of the local Health Forum, and Bob Nuttall knows Chuck Norris!  I ALMOST know Chuck Norris. 

Yes, I know…completely silly, but all in good fun.  Here’s one more:  I almost knew Elvis Presley.  You see, I know Russ Taff.  Russ Taff knows Jim Murray and Jim Murray knew Elvis!  I ALMOST knew Elvis too!  Perhaps you ALMOST know someone famous too.

Can you imagine ALMOST knowing Jesus Christ?  How tragic would that be? To only know people who know Jesus, but never know him personally…a loss of unfathomable consequences.

The Sheep and the Goats…knowing Jesus and loving others
In the parable of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25, Jesus reveals a shocking reality for those whom he groups into the “goat” category: “I never knew you.”  How could this be?  In the passage, they even call Jesus “Lord.” But there were missing pieces of the puzzle for them.  The truths of Jesus’ love and compassion for others had never quite made it into their daily living.  The hungry had gone unfed.  The naked had gone unclothed.  The sick had gone unattended, and the imprisoned had gone unvisited.  Jesus made it clear that as often as the goats had not ministered to these persons, they had not done it unto Him.  Big problem.  In fact, this had been the pattern of their lives…so much that Jesus makes the declaration “I never knew you.”  Clearly, they had never truly known Him either.  They had ALMOST known Jesus.

Hello Lord Jesus, My name is…
I’m a rather conflicted and complicated creature sometimes…okay, probably a lot of the time.  I’m very outgoing and speak easily with strangers.  I’m also by nature very compassionate and don’t want anyone around me to be suffering or in need.  But I’m also conditioned by the world to be skeptical of persons who are different from me.  I might fear being taken advantage of, or of being lied to so that someone can have something I have.  So, I’m a bit tortured by wanting to serve the Lord Jesus, yet not be taken advantage of.  If I have abundance, I want to be able to tend to the needs of others.  I think this is one of those areas where we pray to be as gentle as doves, yet wise as serpents.

Let’s keep in mind that this life is not about us, but others.  It isn’t about me, but Jesus.  I was sold for sin, but ransomed by the Blood of the Lamb.  In turn, I serve and love others.  No more ALMOST knowing.  We strive to know fully, the character of our Lord…to imitate and exhibit His love and compassion.  Love others.  There are persons hurting and in need.  Ready, set…go!

Scripture to Claim:
 “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
1John 2:6

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