9 The LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"
Cain said, "I don’t know. Am I my brother’s guardian?"
10 The LORD said, "What did you do? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.
11 You are now cursed from the ground that opened its mouth to take your brother’s blood from your hand.
12 When you farm the fertile land, it will no longer grow anything for you, and you will become a roving nomad on the earth."
I am amazed how our philosophy changes when we leave the House of God. We embrace one another and socially support or strengthen one another in the Body of Christ ( we call it a body fitly joined together ). However, outside the church our philosophy about economics, politics and otherwise is so contrary to anything exemplified within the fabric or institution of what Christ called the church.
Are attitude is like Cain's so often in this generation. " Am I my brother's guardian? " We live in a bubble with society just spinning around us basically telling people to get into the " Ark " ( or ) church and be safe. However, never truly sharing the grace and love of God with our fellow man in a consistent fashion. In contrast, Jesus went everywhere expressing God's Good News. healing, forgiving, and ministering in selfless love to all he came in contact to. In the three years we know of his official ministry he touched and challenged the philosophy of the Jewish faith and began through his disciples the groundwork for what would become the Church. That he believed would truly reflect the true desire of the Father, and reflect the true intent of God's Word.
Our generation disappointedly has become one of seeking wealth and enjoying privilege. Rather than encapsulating the principles of Christ's teaching, and sharing Christ's love to this generation in selfless love.
In a very popular passage in the New Testament. Jesus confronts a rich young ruler, and reveals to him in the simplest of terms what Christianity is all about in Mark 10:17-21.
17 As Jesus continued down the road, a man ran up, knelt before him, and asked, "Good Teacher, what must I do to obtain eternal life?"
18 Jesus replied, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except the one God.
19 You know the commandments: Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Don’t cheat. Honor your father and mother."
20 "Teacher," he responded, "I’ve kept all of these things since I was a boy."
21 Jesus looked at him carefully and loved him. He said, "You are lacking one thing. Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me."
22 But the man was dismayed at this statement and went away saddened, because he had many possessions.
How sad it is, that we can come so far in our relationship to God and yet fall short. Why? Because we choose not to let go of the security blankets of our life, and to see how God might use us in some selfless or supreme matter. We forget that our Lord taught us not just to give, but that there was a principle of reciprocity that would divinely be at work in our lives. " Give, and it will be given to you. A good portion—packed down, firmly shaken, and overflowing—will fall into your lap. The portion you give will determine the portion you receive in return." ( Luke 6:37 ). God is not blind in our giving. Give selflessly and God will not be mocked. He knows what you have need of before you ask, and his desire is for your needs to be met. However, their is a principle of giving and caring for your fellow man or " loving your neighbor ". That is a chief principle in God's kingdom. Which when expressed through our life, gives glory to God and touches the hearts of every man, woman and child.
What are the two greatest commandments Jesus taught us? "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'#38This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." ( Matthew 22:36-40 NIV ) Here Christ breaks down the Commandments of God into its simplest equation. He declares that the first commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. Then to love your neighbor as highly as yourself. Simply put to love God and man with the same selfless love, empowers the Holy Spirit to accomplish great things through us. For we then give out of ourselves without the carnal trappings of " us " being our overall concern, and decide rather to embrace God and His worldview rather than our own.
These principles are corroborated throughout the scriptures. From God's early dealing with the Hebrew children to His ministry to the Church. For Christ declared, " By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another "
( John 13:35 NIV ) Are you loving as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it? Are you sharing Christlike attributes of love toward your neighbor or stranger today? If you can, it can make all the difference in your life and the one you touch today.
I ask you in closing today. Does your Christian Philosophy just end within the confines of your church? Or, are you embracing this world in the all encompassing focus of these Christian principles laid down by our Lord? I hope your philosophy economically, socially and in every way entails these principles of Christ. I know its contrary to the selfishness and greed of our generation. However, they are the principles the Christ reflected upon with the Rich Young Ruler, as he does with us today. Which is, our living out our lives wrapped in the blanket of selfless consuming love. The same love he reflected as he gave his all in his life and death for all mankind.
Reverend Patrick Vossen,