Friday, October 23, 2015

The Skin of Jesus

"'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment.  And the second one, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:29

In a conversation with a friend recently, she shared a profound statement someone advanced in years had relayed to her.  It was simple.  It was pure.

"I have found that only two things really matter.  That we love Jesus and that we take care of each other." 

The statement stuck.  It basically is the two commandments summarized.

Yet, in church,in life, we have so many programs and busyness grasping for our time that often these two things, the most important things according to Jesus, get pushed aside unintentionally.

Our busyness feeds ourselves until literally "our plates are full", as we so often say.  What we have left to give our neighbors is quite often crumbs to nothing at all.

I'm not here to point fingers.  I am guilty as well.

This past week, however, the Lord has been showing me the importance in this commandment.  The importance of this action.

I have been very sick.  Finally, at midweek, I was rightly diagnosed with pneumonia and possibly mono and placed on stronger antiobiotics.  I am just now beginning to feel slightly normal, but still coughing and weak.  While sick, the importance and truth of the statement above hit home.

Very often, people need not only the words of Jesus, but also the skin of Jesus.  Jesus cared for people.  Jesus stopped.  Jesus interrupted His plans to help.  Jesus loved.  Jesus loves.

In the body of Christ, we often talk about what part of the "body" we are.  Are we a mouth that speaks truth with boldness and proclaims the gospel?  Are we a foot that goes to spread the ministry of the gospel across lands?  Are we a hand that serves in the local church or at a local ministry? All of these are good and needed.  All parts are needed  (1 Cor 12:14-26).  And all the parts should care for the other parts as it says in 1 Cor 12:25-26.  No matter what our callings or giftings are, we are all called to be the skin of Jesus.

Being the skin of Jesus is acting, is going and loving and showing care to one another. It is my prayer for the Lord to help me do this, this very important commandment well.

The first step might be to get our plates not nearly as full so we have more than crumbs to give to our neighbors.  Just a thought.  For you, loving your neighbor might begin with being more present with your own family or it might mean literally getting to know a neighbor.  It could mean reaching out to a friend and seeing how they are doing (not on the surface, but really how they're doing.)

For me, I know it means being more intentional about listening to what people are going through and sincerely seeking how I can help.  Brining a meal can speaks volumes of love to someone hurting or sick.  Texting a friend to say, "I love you and I'm praying for you" can be a powerful testimony of Christ's love.  We just need each other.  My friend's friend rephrased the two commandments so simply...

"I have found that only two things really matter.  That we love Jesus and that we take care of each other." 

This really sums up all that matters.  How can you be the skin of Jesus to someone today?

Dear Lord, I want to follow you.  Lord, help me love you with all my heart, soul and mind and then help me truly and sincerely love my neighbor as myself.  Lord, forgive me for being selfish and filling my plate to the point of having no more room left to give to those in need.  Father, help me love others well.  Help me be the Your skin to someone today.   In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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