Sunday, September 27, 2009

Isaiah 58

In one of my Bibles, much of Isaiah 58 is underlined in red ink or highlighted in yellow. There are marks by some of the lines and notes in the margin. If asked, Isaiah 58, along with so many others, would be named as one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.

I won't type the whole chapter here, though I am tempted to. You can read it for yourself, but if you choose not to, here is a snippet for you...

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter - when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I." Isaiah 58:6-9

I can't help but ask myself, when I read Isaiah 58 and now that I have come across the video below several times this week...what are we doing?

I can't stop myself at this point.

Why on earth did I go to church this morning? Why did any of us go? Did we learn any thing new, draw closer to the heart of God, squirm in our seats or were we not moved at all? Did we take offense to the Truth or not hear enough of it? Did we raise our hands as we worshipped Him and did we tightly close our eyes as we prayed? What did we pray for? Or did we even pray at all? Did we even want to be there?

Some time ago someone said something to me before one of our church services that stuck with me. He said, "We want you to be here. We want you to be plugged in and involved. But truthfully, we would you rather you not be here and instead be OUT THERE, working and helping to lead people to Christ." Isn't it amazing how someone can say something, surely not remember saying it, but continually impact you in a profound way. The church is essential. I am certainly not saying that it isn't. To worship, fellowship with other believers, learn, grow, reach in and reach out...all of that within the church is necessary.

But then we step outside. We live through Monday mornings and Friday nights. And for some of us, the rest of the week is nothing in comparison to Sunday mornings. Why? Is it because we are held to a different standard by God during the rest of the week? Or is it because we feel like we have to put on a happy face and make all of our "church friends" believe that we are just as perfect as them? Because surely they cannot possibly be as broken as we are. Maybe we think that being in the presence of such Godly people as our pastors or Bible study leaders requires us to be at our very best, so we put up our walls and we pretend that we are better than we really are. We worship and praise Him. We thank Him for His blessings and ask Him to keep our families safe, to heal our sick loved ones, to provide us with what we need.

And then we leave. As we walk out of the building, we leave Him inside. On Sunday we are willing to do any thing He asks. Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Treat the sick. Love the widow and the orphan. Maybe even die. But not on Monday. Not on Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday or Friday and certainly not on Saturday, our fun day. Because after the hands lifted high worshipping and the eyes tightly shut praying, we walk out. We make the choice not to act. We make the decision to turn away. We decide to ignore Him the rest of the week.

I am guilty of all of this. I may be very familiar with the food crisis much of our world faces. I know a lot about orphan statistics and families that live in poverty. And we are working to reach a handful of families and children though our work will never be enough, no matter how far it goes. But I am guilty. Guilty of not doing enough...guilty of not praying enough...guilty of making the wrong choices at times and not always being open to Him the first time He calls. I am guilty of looking away because sometimes the reality is so hard to face and because I know that regardless of what I do, it will never be enough. I am so crazy about God that I sometimes feel like my head is spinning and I am desperately trying to live this life the way He wants it to be lived, but I fail...every day. When I turn my head so I won't see...when I sing a little louder so I won't hear...I fail. Because of His love, the love that I have for orphans and vulnerable children is unbelievable and uncontainable and it gets a little bigger every day. Still, I am not doing enough. We, as the body of Christ, are not doing enough.

We have to figure this out. We have to get it together. Because it isn't an option. He did not nicely ask us to care for those that cannot speak for themselves, for the destitute, for widows and orphans and all that are in need, both physically and spiritually...He commanded it. And we are ignoring Him.

Except on Sundays.

I did not mean to write all of that. I really just wanted to share this video that I've seen a couple of times this week because it speaks loudly to my heart and says what I have been saying for a while now. It isn't enough to worship Him for ourselves. It isn't enough to raise our hands to praise Him if we aren't willing to reach out with those same hands to care for those that He loves. And it isn't enough to close our eyes to pray because sometimes, if our eyes are closed too long or if they are shut too tight, we miss seeing what He has set right in front of us. If we aren't following the instructions He has clearly laid out, then what on Earth ARE we doing?

*I know I have written a couple of blog posts like this in the last two months or so. Forgive me for being repetitive if that is the case, but when something like this speaks so clearly to me, I just have to get it out...I guess that is what blogging is all about, right?

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