The helping business

"Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, 'Do not weep.' Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, 'Young man, I say to you, arise.' And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, 'A great prophet has arisen among us!' and 'God has visited his people!' And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country" -- Luke 7:11-17, ESV.

What does your father do for a living? My Father is in the helping business. Every church is one of His branch offices, and every member is one of His ministers.

Jesus helps by showing up. Personal ministry requires personal contact and help requires hands. When Jesus arrived, He interrupted a funeral. The deceased body of a man who obviously died too soon was being carried to its final resting place. The situation was sad, like most funerals of young people, and particularly desperate for the widowed and now childless mother, whose only son was her only means of support. This dear lady really, really needed help and Jesus was there for her.

Grace personified in the public ministry of Jesus Christ could only be in one place at one time. Jesus said, can we do "greater things?" The church has millions of locations and billions of members today. Here is what each one of us should set out to do first: show up. Half the battle of fighting the good fight of faith is just showing up. Show up to spend time with your spouse, show up and be there for your children, show up and always be a friend. Show up at funerals, at weddings, at the hospital, show up every Sunday for church. For if you are not there, you cannot help, you cannot encourage, you cannot speak or touch, you cannot minister.

Jesus helps by showing his love. Before He raised the dead, before He even touched the stretcher carrying the body, Jesus showed the lonely window that He loved her. "Compassion" is a big biblical word. It speaks of a love so powerful on the inside that it erupts on the outside. It can be seen in visible expression and tangible action.

Remember, Jesus Christ was one person sharing God's love. Today He is many, a large body of Christ, commissioned to look upon people with the love of God. So, in Jesus' name, be sure to show up. Be sure to show your love. And, for the love of God, go ahead and raise the dead.

Jesus helps by showing his power. In doing so, He gave life to the man, hope to the mother and the gospel to us all. There was a practical and a parabolic element to this miracle of Jesus. Practically, this was in the prerogative of Jesus to do, anytime and to anyone He wanted. It was a card Christ seldom played, however, and no modern Christian has this hand in his deck. Any of us can show up, any of us can show love, but none of us can raise the dead.

But, we can do "greater things." I interpret every miracle of Jesus as a parable of the gospel, with raising the dead at the pinnacle. What could be better for this widow or any broken-hearted family member than having a loved one raised from the dead? The greater miracle is when a lost sinner, dead in their sins, is raised to eternal life by the grace of God through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ!

And, it happens every day. People repent and believe, every day. People are added to the church, every day. People are buried with Christ and raised to walk with new life every single day somewhere on this planet. This greatest of miracles will keep happening until Jesus comes again. So, let's get in on it.

People need help. So, show up, sow seeds of the love of God, and share the power of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Chuck DeVane is the pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church. He is a graduate of Valdosta State University, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has served churches in Arkansas and Georgia, and preached the gospel across the USA and other countries. You can reach him at pastorchuck@lakehamiltonbaptistchurch.org.

Religion on 09/30/2017

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