Saturday, September 8, 2012

Barriers To Benevolence by Martin Wiles

Our first year was busy with requests for assistance. Since our driveway connected with the church’s parking lot, it was a dead giveaway I was the pastor.

Things got so bad I stopped answering the front door. But it didn’t work. They went to the back door. We couldn’t even sit in our back yard without people walking around shouting “Is anyone home?” I started classifying them by how they looked, what they wore and what type of vehicle they drove. Some we helped; others we didn’t. A few had legitimate needs; many were scamming us. Unknowingly I erected barriers to the church’s benevolence.
   
Jesus encountered one who destroyed barriers to benevolence. Since he was a Roman, he was hated by the Jews because he represented the foreign power that ruled over them. In spite of their ill feelings toward him, he responded with kindness. When one of his slaves became ill and was near death, he sent some respected Jewish leaders to ask for Jesus’ help. This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue (Luke 7:4-5).

Pride, prejudice, unconcern, personal lack and selfishness are potential barriers to benevolence. We’re all on level ground before God, and what I don’t have isn’t an excuse for refusing to share a little of what I do have. God owns all I possess and loans it to me for temporary use.

While God expects me to be a good steward of my money and possessions, he never expects me to erect barriers that keep me from helping others and sharing his love in the process. What barriers do you need to destroy?

Prayer: Merciful Lord, when we’re tempted to focus on us, turn our eyes and hearts toward benevolence to others.