Monthly Archives: September 2013

WHO WILL FEED THE POOR NOW?

“Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat. He answered and said unto them, ‘Give ye them to eat.’ ” Mark 6:36-37.

 

When I was a teen, I worked as an usher in a neighborhood theater. On Saturdays, it was open from 10 in the morning until about 11 at night, and some parents used it as a cheap babysitter. Late one night, I saw a kid’s head disappear behind a row of seats only to pop up in a different place for a minute or two and then disappear again. This went on for several minutes.  I wondered what on earth that kid was doing. Slowly, I worked my way down the aisle, shined my light on him, and took him to the back.  In the light, I saw he was a little boy about 7 or 8 years old, poorly dressed, very skinny, and very dirty.  He had been left in the theater all day and most of the night without food or money. He was so hungry that he was crawling around between the seats eating popcorn that had fallen on the floor.

I gave him two dollars and let him go buy a couple of chili dogs and a drink. When he returned with his food, he sat on the back row and eagerly ate and drank, pausing only once or twice to look up at me with a sweet smile. He was very grateful and thanked me over and over. He became my friend that night.

In the years following, I often saw him in the neighborhood. When that happened, he always yelled hello and smiled at me. In a few years, he grew much bigger and stronger than me and I knew if I ever got into a jam, I had a friend who would fight for me. What a bargain—two dollars for food and a friend for life.

When we feed the hungry, we are doing what Jesus told us to do, and we are making friends for Him. It is one of the easiest ways to show God’s love. Let’s thank God that we have something to share and let’s share it.

Father, I thank you that I can show your love by sharing.

SEEKING ETERNAL LIFE

Luke 10:30-37

 

“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” a teacher of the law asked Jesus. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself,” Jesus answered. However, the man, trying to justify himself, asked, “Who is my neighbor?”

Then Jesus told him a story of a man on a trip who was attacked by thieves. They robbed him, beat him nearly to death, took his clothes, and left him on the side of the road to die. There are four types of people in Jesus’ story—thieves, victims, religionists, and Samaritans.

There were thieves, like some today. They will rob you, beat you, rape you, and kill you. However, most thieves today are more subtle. There are businesses and corporations that are thieves. They work their people hard, pay only poverty-level wages, and provide no health insurance or other benefits. Many Americans are working two or more jobs and still can’t make it. Loan companies and banks that charge outrageous rates of interest and hidden fees fall into this category. In addition, there are workers who are thieves. They steal from their employer. They steal money, materials, and supplies, and they steal time by not giving their employers an honest day’s work for their pay.

The victim was a man who, through no fault of his own, had lost everything but his life, and had become a needy person. Some people are like him in our world today. They want to work, but can’t due to sickness, disability, or old age. Others cannot work because the factories have closed, and their jobs are now overseas. Many were left behind due to a fast-changing workplace. These people have neither the higher education nor specialized training the market requires and unfortunately, many are too old or too poor to get the education and training.

Among those passing by the man without helping him were two religious people. They walked on the other side and simply ignored him, not wanting to see him or his need. They agreed with the teachings of their faith mentally, but their mental agreement did not move them to action. That kind of belief is rubbish. It does not please God or bless others. We should never deceive ourselves into thinking we are Christians if we do not have love and compassion for the poor and needy, or if we never do anything to help them. It is in the doing that counts. If we are not doing, we are not blessing, and we will not be blessed. If we cannot love our brother whom we have seen, how can we love God whom we have not seen?

The Samaritan came along last. He went to the poor man, put medicine on his wounds, and bandaged them. Then, he took him to an inn where he personally cared for the man. When he had to leave, he paid the innkeeper for the man’s continuing stay, and told him if the man owed any more, he would pay him when he came back.

We need to ask ourselves what type persons are we—thieves and robbers, victims, religionists, or Samaritans.

Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net, http://www.peopleforthechristianway.com

CLOSET CHRISTIANS

 

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father,

who is unseen. . .” (Matthew 6:6).

 

Are you a “closet” Christian? There are two kinds of Christians that fall into this category, one is bad and one is good.

The bad ones hide the fact from others that they are Christians. Joseph of Arimathea was such a man. It is said of him, “Joseph was a disciple, but secretly, because he feared the Jews” (John 19:38). Secret disciples never let their light shine, so they never brighten the corner where they are, or anywhere else. In addition, they walk on dangerous ground. Jesus said, “. . . whosoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:33).

The good kind follows the example and teachings of Jesus, particularly when they pray. They go to a place where they can be alone with God. They don’t pray to be seen, or to impress others. They do not pray for the same things repeatedly, thinking God did not hear them, or believing as some children do, that if they worry their parents (God) long enough, they can get anything they want. They pray asking only for those things that are in His will or nature, and they pray mainly in order to have a more intimate relationship with Him.

We need to ask ourselves if we are “closet” Christians who hide our relationship with Christ, or are we “closet” Christians only in the sense that we follow both the example and teachings of Jesus in prayer. Which are we?

Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net, http://www.peopleforthechristianway.com

 

ANOTHER DAY OF INFAMY, September 15, 1963

My eyes puddled with tears and they began to trickle down my face, faster than I could wipe them away. Soon, they became a solid stream that I could not hide from my children, who saw me crying and came to comfort me. They sat on each side of me on the sofa, put their arms around me, and asked, “Why are you crying, daddy? What’s wrong? What’s the matter?”

I was crying because I was watching the live television coverage of the aftermath of the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Firefighters and emergency workers were going through the rubble. Then, it was announced that four little girls, about the same age of my own children, had been killed in the blast.

When I told my children that a church had been blown up and four little girls had been killed, they immediately asked, “Why, daddy? Why?” I struggled to answer that question. Finally, I told them there were some mean people in the world who hated black people, and they were the people who had bombed the church.

I have continued to ask why on a deeper level. I believe several factors brought about the bombing. The Jim Crow laws contributed to the hatred that led to the bombing. Those laws separated us, whites from blacks. They required separation in schools, restaurants, movies, waiting rooms, on public transportation, in hospitals, and even water fountains and restrooms. Shamefully, churches segregated themselves, by their own choices. The outcome of all the separation was most white people did not know very many black people, and vice versa. There were no interracial friendships, conversations, or understanding.

Into this gap in knowledge and understanding, white supremacists, and other hate groups joined in spreading misinformation and vicious lies. They said black people were dumb, lazy, shiftless, and immoral. The Klan spread the lie that black men lusted for white women, and that they were the noble protectors of their honor. The lying and malicious talk was multiplied many times over. Many ignorant white people believed the lies, and not liking or even hating black people became easy.

In those days, violence was rampant in Birmingham. The demonstrators were marching, pushing the segregationist’s envelope, and defying the law. The police and fire department were pushing back, trying to stop them, using billet clubs, vicious dogs, water cannons, and paddy wagons.

The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church became a prime target for the Ku Klux Klan. It was a meeting place for Civil Rights Movement leaders such as Martin Luther King, Fred Shuttlesworth, and Ralph Abernathy. It was where students trained for the Children’s Crusade and many other protests and marches. It was the general headquarters and a haven for Birmingham Civil Rights marchers and protesters. All of these factors, and then some, came to a head with the bombing of the church.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt referred to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, when he said, “This is a day that will live in infamy.” That day now has company. September 15, 1963, when the church was bombed and four little girls were killed is another day when it can be said, “This is a day that will live in infamy.”

Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net, http://www.peopleforthechristianway.com

 

NO SYRIAN INTERVENTION

There are at least eight reasons why America should not intervene in the Syrian conflict.

1.     Syria is a sovereign nation. We have no business interfering in their internal affairs.

2.     They do not pose a threat to our country, never have, and never will.

3.     We should not fight other people’s wars for them. Wars are terrible. No one should ever go to war without first counting the cost.

4.     Intervention may set a precedent in the minds of others. How many dissatisfied factions, in how many countries may come to think they can start a revolution or a war and the U.S. will intervene on their behalf. All they have to do is get several television cameras filming their dead and wounded, and covering the atrocities of their conflict. Wars are filled with atrocities.

5.     We are going it alone. We do not have the support of the United Nations, the Security Council, or any other international body.

6.     We are not the sheriff of the world. We have no authorization to police the world, stop all the bad guys, and rescue all the good guys, etc.

7.     We cannot afford another war. We are involved in two already which are still maiming and killing Americans, and draining our financial resources. These wars have made us one of the most hated nations in the world. They have not brought about permanent change, and they have created more enemies of the U.S. than we have ever destroyed.

8.     Some people claim we are a Christian nation, but we do not act like it. The way of Christ is the way of peace. Someone has said, “Christianity is the flag under which the ship of state sails, but it does not control the rudder that steers it.” How true that is, sad but true.

Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net, http://www.people-for-the-christian-way.org

 

LONGING FOR PEACE

“Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime” (2 Kings 21:19)?

 

            All civilized people long for peace in the world. We long for an end to the horrible maiming, mutilation, and death that wars bring, and to the experiences that twist men’s minds, and leave them to be haunted by fearful nightmares. We long for the day to end when our patriotic young people return to their homeland in flag-draped caskets, when we hear taps echoing across lonely cemeteries, and we see tears streaming down the cheeks of young wives, mothers, and children.

            We long for the day to come when the billions of dollars spent on war can be used to provide health care, food and shelter for the needy, education and training, and job opportunities for all those willing and able to work.

            We long for peace in the hearts of people all over the world. Some people’s greatest conflict is within themselves. They are filled with guilt, fear, and worry; however, they need not feel this way. The Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, offers His peace to all. The Hebrew word “peace” in Isaiah 9:6 is the word “shalom.” Shalom means more than just the absence of conflict. It means the rich, harmonious, joyful life of those privileged to live in God’s kingdom. To have Christ is to have peace.

            God’s Word tells us that as long as the world stands there shall be wars and rumors of wars. There is little, if anything, an individual can do to change that; however, every human being can enjoy the peace that God gives. It is personal, and it passes all understanding. It is a peace that one can have even in the midst of the storm. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27).

The peace of Christ be with you.

Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People For the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life.  drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net, https://www.facebook.com/People.For.The.Christian.Way