Love thy neighbor as ourselves

I am writing today about something that grieves my heart to the core. I know this will be controversial but it needs to be said. In the church today, it is very popular to serve as missionaries to the homeless strangers in our cities or go on mission trips to places around the world. I am not here to bash any of these activities as they are very important to the Lord and His kingdom. Some people would never be reached otherwise. However, there is also a lot of "box-checking" and "making ourselves feel good" in this. We go once a week, give the poor some food (which is all good), check our box, and then go home. We might even pray with them. Then we go home to our middle class suburbia. Of course, the homeless are still homeless and dealing with the same issues they had before. Meanwhile, our neighbor two doors down is lonely and in the hospital struggling to survive but we don't check on them because their suffering is invisible. This kind of suffering is something that requires the agape kind of love. The kind of love Jesus had for us.  It is a love that requires an investment in the person involved. Sometimes this means reorganizing our busy lives to care for that person on an ongoing basis. God may send us as His only representative in their lives.

In the end we need to be asking ourselves why are we doing what we are doing? Are we serving out of guilt or any kind of feel good selfish motives? We also may need to quit "spirit-gazing" and learn how to practically help people near to us when they need it. In a crisis situation, people need both spirit and truth. In other words, they need prayer and they need someone to take them food (or to the store or doctors appointments or whatever). I like the way Jesus says it because we need to be treating people the way we want to be treated. Sometimes God wants to do a deep work in someone's life and needs to use us for an extended period of time to help that person.  Would you like someone to be there with you when you are struggling? I know I would. Would you like someone to help take you out of the enemy's grasp when you are oppressed? I know I would love that as well. Then all I can say is...follow the bible, sacrifice your time and energy, and help your neighbor as yourself.