I used to live in Green Cove Springs, Florida, a quiet little town where not much happens. Also living there was a little old, Grey haired, lady. However, she didn’t have a home. She lived in a tent across the street (Hwy 17) from Harvey’s grocery store. I didn’t know her name. I have given her money on occasion, but, what did that really help? I feel ashamed that I didn’t do more.
About 4 or five days ago I saw an emergency vehicle there in front of her tent. I thought maybe something had happened to her, but, it turned out that someone else needed an ambulance. Since that day I have not seen her. However, a lady who works at Huddle House (a restaurant), said that she had seen her walking down the street.
A few nights before she had last been seen, around midnight, there was a severe storm here. There were several nearby lightning strikes as well. I thought about the little old Grey haired lady that camped out near me and, I went out looking for her around 12:30 am. I did not find her. I had no idea what I was going to do if I did find her. Maybe let her sleep on my living room floor? I don’t know.
A few day later after talking to the lady at Huddle House, I went to see if I might find the lady in her tent. I did not. What I did find was evidence that the city had run her off and posted a sign that said, “No Trespassing.” I really felt ashamed that I hadn’t done more.
All I found was trash and scattered clothing. Also, I found her tent, destroyed, near a clothing drop-off box. I do not know where she went. I don’t know if she was arrested or if she was taken somewhere to be cared for. All I do know is that the place she called home is not hers anymore.
What would you do if you suddenly found yourself homeless? Would you expect people to help you? It always makes me think of the time Jesus said, “Give and it shall be given to you.” ( Luke 6:38) How is your Christianity defined? Is it defined by the fact that you go to church on Sunday or Saturday or, whenever you go? Is it defined by the fact that you know a lot of scripture, or have large parts of the bible memorized? Is it that you are prosperous and give credit to God (and you should)? What is it? Are you obedient to God’s word? That is the real question. Take a look at the full passage I just quoted from Luke chapter 6 verses 24 – 49 (NLT).
“What sorrow awaits you who are rich,
for you have your only happiness now.
What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now,
for a time of awful hunger awaits you.
What sorrow awaits you who laugh now,
for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow.
26 What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds,
for their ancestors also praised false prophets.
Love for Enemies
27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.
35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
Do Not Judge Others
37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”39 Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? 40 Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.
41 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 42 How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
The Tree and Its Fruit
43 “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44 A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
Building on a Solid Foundation
46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? 47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
There is nothing I can add to what the Master has said except that unless you obey His Words they are useless to you. I am speaking to myself more than anyone. We all need to do more than we are doing when it comes to God’s word. Knowing God’s word is not enough. We must begin to obey. I am not talking about salvation. I am talking about really becoming God’s people, His children.
James says this:
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. (James 1:22 – 25)