Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
Fellowship (Part 13)
Essentials: Charity And Hospitality*
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 them,
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 (NIV)**
Charity and hospitality go hand-in-hand. 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me' (Matthew 25:40). Jesus identifies with our suffering kin. How we treat them... is how we treat Him. God is perfectly and painfully clear: By the charity and hospitality we extend to our brethren, we will be judged.***
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Consider these acts of kindness as footlights on the path of salvation:
1) 'I was hungry and you gave me something to eat' (Matthew 25:35). 'When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors... But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed...' (Luke 14:12-14). Extend your hospitality beyond the easy zone. Nourish those the world rejects. Jesus did.
2) 'I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink' (Matthew 25:35). 'Whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple... he shall by no means lose his reward' (Matthew 10:42). 'He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water' (John 7:38). Extend God's refreshing Presence through the pipeline of media.
3) 'I was a stranger and you invited me in' (Matthew 25:35). 'Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it' (Hebrews 13:1-2). 'The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you' (Leviticus 19:34). Extend God's family as ambassadors for Christ. Before your adoption, you were strangers, too.
4) 'I needed clothes and you clothed me' (Matthew 25:36). 'But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?' (1 John 3:17). 'Shem and Japheth took a garment... and covered the nakedness of their father' (Genesis 9:23). Extend your hearts, open your wallets, and clean out your closets. Give covering to those in need.
5) 'I was ill and you looked after me' (Matthew 25:36). 'A certain man... fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead... But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion... and took care of him' (Luke 10:30-34).**** Extend yourselves. Tend those who can't fend for themselves.
6) 'I was in prison and you came to visit me' (Matthew 25:36). 'Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering' (Hebrews 13:3). Extend sympathy, solidarity and support for your persecuted brethren. In love, go to them. In defense, speak for them, but do not forget them.
To Be Continued...
* Isaiah 58 (entire Chapter): https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+58&version=NIV
** Previous AMTC Devotions on Alms: http://amtcdevotions.org/show-me-the-money-part-6-alms
** Previous AMTC Devotions on Tithes: http://amtcdevotions.org/show-me-the-money-part-4-tithes-the-toll-booth; http://amtcdevotions.org/show-me-the-money-part-5-tithes-a-magnificent-return
** Previous AMTC Devotion on Offerings: http://amtcdevotions.org/show-me-the-money-part-7-offerings
*** The Sheep and the Goats: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25%3A31-46&version=NIVUK
**** The Parable of the Good Samaritan: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+10%3A25-37&version=NKJV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Fellowship series.