Individuals Matter

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Hello Friends,

So today, I want to let you in on a conversation I had a with a friend the other day. This topic God has been pressing on my heart for some time now. If I keep it in any longer I may explode. Ok not really…in fact I may have had a bit too much green tea… that always makes my posts interesting… lol I digress.

So the topic  that has had me is Serving…Reaching Out

So we all know we are called to serve and to reach out. If not, well I show you some of the places and if you already know its always good to get a refresher. While not an all-inclusive list  here it is…

 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:16-20

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’

 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?

And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:31-40

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”  

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

John 21:15-17

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

John 14:12

 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

James 2:14-26

Serving, reaching out we are called to do it. But how do we do it today? While thinking about this I want to share some parables you all are probably already familiar with, with you again…

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable: What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Luke 15:1-7

The Parable of the Lost Coin

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’

 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Luke 15:8-10

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them.  Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 

 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!  I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

But the father said to his servants,‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate.

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 2And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’

But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.  But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’

And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

Luke 15:11-32

So above I asked you to think about how we serve or reach out today… So while a friend and I were talking the other day we were talking about this some ways we brought up were by giving financially to organizations, others may work for organizations or churches

Now all of these are good things … however they all have one similarity as well they are meant to reach groups of people, often times these are very impersonal. Often times you do not have to get to know the needs of the person you are serving.

Before you get quick to defend just go with me for a min. By no means am I saying we shouldn’t be doing those things they are good, in fact, they are great lots of people are being helped in a collaborative effort.

Now look back at those 3 parables Jesus told. Do you see something that is similar in all three?

Go ahead take a look….

Jesus was showing us the importance of reaching just one.

With all the technology we have today we are able to reach millions. I think we are constantly thinking about how to reach the most people  that we lose sight of the individual.

At some point in our conversation my friend and I were talking about why… why have we gotten away from this and here are some things we thought about…

  • working with an individual requires a closeness that we don’t  have to otherwise
  • often times it costs a personal investment of time, energy, and money  which can be more than if  we would just focus on the individual .
  • the closer we get to people we see their messes and then question whether we should invest our time in them or not. (Now I think this is not right, we are not supposed to determine things like that but that is for another post)

But individuals matter…in fact they matter a lot more than we often think about…

Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.

Ecclesiastes 9:18

Individuals matter… it goes both ways

For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

Romans 5:19

Now the scripture above was referencing to Adam and Jesus but oh how it only took one to make a difference in either direction.

Friends I am writing you to shine a light on the coward. He wants you to think BIGGER and forget about the individual. Both are important. We called to reach nations (Matthew 28:16-20) .

However, Jesus mentioned that the second greatest commandment was in regards to focusing on the individual.

 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:30-31

Now some look at the word neighbor to mean the person physically living next to them. I see it as the person next/near to you. In the store the person near you doesn’t live next to you but they are your neighbor.

In the Hebrew there are three definitions for this word one being… according to Christ, any other man irrespective of nation or religion with whom we live or whom we chance to meet

Individuals matter.

While this can seem kind of radical thinking in our world today where we are trying to reach the biggest group possible. I suggest we look at Jesus, He is our example… Did He focus on reaching the most people possible or did He focus on the individual or did He do both? Friends I will let you search that for yourselves in scripture.

I will leave you with one last lesson from Him…

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?

You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 1Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

John 13:12-17

As Always Friends,

Be Blessed!

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