Text: John 6:30-69 – Jesus boldly declares that he is the Bread of Life, offending many of his casual followers and causing many of his disciples to fall away.
I have a very dangerous Facebook friend. If I continue to associate myself with him, he might lead me down paths that require me to be uncomfortable at times. I might have to face some unpleasant realities. I might feel guilty on occasion. My heart might break as I prayerfully walk with him as he walks the dusty streets of his home city in far away Kenya, ministering to the forgotten, the outcasts, the invisible. I might even be offended on occasion, when he speaks hard truths. Some of my friends might even caution me to be careful, after all, there are so many scammers out there. And yet, my heart is drawn to this brother in Christ who takes Jesus at his Word and lives out Matthew 25:37-40 on a daily basis.
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Today, Benard shared with his friends the following testimony.
“In my early years of ministry I was involved in hospital ministry and every Sunday evening I could join the hospital mission team as we headed to the wards to preach to the sick and pray with them. I knew what was required of me; I was to carry my bible and know how to pray which I did so well. On reaching where the sick were, we could stand at a safe distance and yell a prayer or two. The visits to the wards became a difficult task and we decided that instead of going into the wards we would still reach the patients by holding crusades and facing the loudspeakers towards the ward. Later on in my ministry life, when called upon to go for a hospital mission, I would dress like one going to preach, carrying my King James Version bible. Once I got to the hospital I would quote a couple of scriptures, yell a prayer and that was it, mission accomplished. But of late, it has changed. Now I carry the bible in my heart, I practice what it says. I go to those wards carrying fruits, milk, juice, lucozade, ribena etc. I pray with the sick, buy them medicine, bathe them, wrap them with diapers and carry them out of the wards so that they can also enjoy sunshine. We stand with people in their hour of need. God is good and I count it a privilege to be called in this kind of ministry.”
Since friending Benard a couple of years ago, I have attempted to introduce Ben to my Facebook friends. Very few of my friends have chosen to send him a friend request, unlike other ministries I have introduced to them. Perhaps it’s because his website is not flashy, neither is his ministry. He doesn’t have a ‘God wants you to feel good all the time’ message, he’s not posting witty statuses, he doesn’t have a great worship team backing him up and he isn’t chummy with the popular darlings of Christian media. Perhaps it’s his message, ‘Do what others won’t do and do so quietly, without an expectation of reward or recognition.’ Perhaps some counted the price that comes when one chooses to come alongside people like Benard and decided it was too costly.
In your own life, are there people who God has prompted you to befriend but you have hesitated to do so because he might use them to shake you out of complacency? God might ask for a change of heart, a willingness to truly see hard truths we would rather avoid. God might require we give up our reputations, our prejudices and our cynicism. He might require we lay aside our preconceptions and cultural bias.
The good news is, the eternal rewards we receive and the grace we pass on to the world around us are guaranteed to be greater than any sacrifice that might be required of us.
Until next week,
©2012 Katherine Walden