We’ll Say We Did

Let’s not and say we did.

It was just the other day.  Someone suggested he and I should run in a long race a few months from now.  I didn’t take to the suggestion all that well.

Still, I’d like for folks to think I could.

The words came from my mouth without thought.

Let’s not and say we did.

I’m thinking about the words tonight.  Truth be told, I thought about them last night, too.

For most of the night.

With one of the Elders of my fellowship, I sat in the church library during the late morning service on Sunday.  As a member of the worship team, I had already attended the early service, listening attentively to the pastor’s words.  This time, as he preached again, I would relax in comfort and await my cue to go back in for the final song.

I thought that is what I would do.  Relaxing isn’t how I would describe the next half hour.

She didn’t look like she belonged in church.  

We don’t have a dress code—no one expects what we used to call our Sunday best, but her clothes were different in other ways.  Mismatched and fitting her badly, it had been a long time since they had been on the rack in a department store.  There were other physical attributes that reinforced the idea that she hadn’t come to sit with the other worshipers in the service.

“I need to get some help.  Are you guys the deacons?”

She sat down and filled the air with words and the smell of stale tobacco.  We asked a question or two, but she did most of the talking.  No home.  Living in a motel with her children.  Poor health.  Bad luck.  No money.

I was happy to notice the pastor was on his last point in the sermon.  It was my get-out-of-jail-free card.

“I’ve got to go sing.”

Done.  Free.

She’s somebody else’s problem now.  I’m so happy our church will help her in some way.  So happy.

But. . .

I say I follow God.  

Let’s not and say we did.

When I take the easy way out, I make my testimony of following God a lie.

When we take the easy way out, we make our claim of following God a lie. Click To Tweet

I know I should tread lightly here.  That’s what my head tells me.  It would be more comfortable that way.  For me, as well as for those reading this.

Comfortable isn’t how God always works.  Jesus, as He addressed His followers, didn’t ease up to give them a way of escape.

They didn’t get a pass because they were in the choir.

Paying their taxes to the government didn’t offer any relief for His command.

Putting their money in the offering plate at church didn’t alleviate one scintilla of their responsibility.

He didn’t give instructions to the church leaders lurking nearby to start a food pantry.

He didn’t direct words to the government officials in the area to offer a relief program financed with taxes.

With the clarity and plain words of a teacher in the guise of a practiced storyteller, He made it clear that every person has a responsibility to those in need around us.  Every single person.

He looked down through the centuries, straight at us and told us to care for their needs as we would if visited by God Himself.  (Matthew 25: 40, 45)

Let’s not and say we did.

Oh!  I would never!  

But, we do.  

Every time we suggest that government programs fulfill God’s command, we say it.

Every time we breathe a sigh of relief that the benevolence fund at our church fellowship is available for just such people, we tell the lie.

You know—running thirteen miles would be uncomfortable for me.  I’m not going to tell you I did it if I didn’t.

In the same way, I don’t want to claim to be a follower of Jesus, yet refuse to do what He asks me to do to even the least of His sisters and brothers.

But, I have done it before.  You?

It’s time to stop lying.  

To ourselves and to each other.

And, to Him.

 

 

Charity never humiliated him who profited from it, nor ever bound him by the chains of gratitude, since it was not to him but to God that the gift was made.
(Antoine de Saint-Exupery ~ French pilot/author ~ 1900-1944)

 

Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
(1 John 2:6 ~ NLT)

 

 

 

 

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2017. All Rights Reserved.

3 thoughts on “We’ll Say We Did

  1. So true, so true Paul. We need to shed our shells, our comfort shoes and reach out in truth and real compassion. Thank you for bringing this to the forefront.

  2. Wow, Paul! You really got my attention with this one. The next time I have the urge to say, “Let’s not and say we did,” know I will definitely think twice.
    May we all seek to be more like Jesus.

  3. Wow! God used this one to confirm what He’s been stretching me to do. It started with a homeless young man, which then lead me to visit and interview folks from our local Rescue Mission for an article. It’s like God is saying, “You’re not finished, beloved.”
    Thanks, Paul for exposing your heart and convicting ours!
    Blessings, dear brother.

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