Loving other people…
June 26th, 2019
In 1964 Barbara Streisand had a massive hit by the title ‘People’. When I say massive, this thing played on all kinds of radio stations for years. A lot of the popularity of the song perhaps was Barbara’s soft yet penetrating voice that seemed to sooth and provoke you simultaneously.
But I really think it was the subject of the song that gave it an endearing quality that attributed to its longevity.
‘People who need people are the luckiest people in the world!’
And later in the song…
‘People loving other people’
And so forth.
Jesus saw the value of people in his ministry. So much so, that he didn’t extend his ministry for centuries. Instead, three and a half short years, then he left us with a charge to carry on the work of the Gospel of Christ.
Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (NET)
Jesus had been given ‘all authority’ by the Father. There was no resource out of his reach. We know that his love for us was legendary because who would lay down their life for strangers, or even those in opposition to you. There wasn’t any doubt that he wasn’t taking the easy way out when said to his disciples, ‘I want you to become disciple makers, not just here, but everywhere. I want you to baptize these new disciples, teach them to obey everything I have taught you.’
‘oh, and by the way, I’m going to be right there with you all the way, until this age is passed!’
Jesus chose ‘people’ to be his messengers to indoctrinate the world with the message of the Good News. Not because that was all he had to work with. No, it was the best means of dispersing this news which would literally change the face of the world and send the devil scrambling to salvage what little turf he could, knowing that his days were numbered.
Therefore you heavens rejoice, and all who reside in them! But woe to the earth and the sea because the devil has come down to you! He is filled with terrible anger, for he knows that he only has a little time!”
Revelation 12:12 (NET)
There’s a very important reason why our personal testimony is powerful. It’s because it is ours. People identify with people.
If you take a class for anything there is some level of interest in learning the information for which you take the course of study. The intensity of that interest plays a very strong role in just how well you are able to focus your concentration to absorb the content of the class.
When a friend takes time to show you directly how to accomplish the same content of learning but does so in a personal and one on one manner, the content is absorbed more readily. Have you ever wondered why reading it in a book is never as clear as hearing it from someone you trust?
It is because we identify with those who relate to us. There is an automatic channel of trust that is imparted when we share of ourselves with another. As we relate our testimony the person hearing it can more easily place themselves in our shoes and experience much of the same as we have living the experience. Vicarious is the term for it. The means of relaying experience from one to the other without actually being engaged in the activity.
Every good novelist knows how to craft their story in such a way that the character they write about lets you in on just what their life is all about. Regardless if you have had no reasonable facsimile of their experience.
Jesus wanted us to use this phenomena to spread his Good News.
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who does not believe will be condemned.
Mark 16:15-16 (NET)
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”
Matthew 9:37-38 (NET)
People… loving people.
Disciples… making disciples.
Nothing is as believable as a true believer, believing.
We each have a testimony that starts at the cross and tracks the footsteps of our lives. Sharing that newer testament is critical to the fulfillment of the directives in the New Testament. No, it’s not a book that you can leave with someone, it must be shared personally, one on one. It starts with us living the Gospel we believe in and then letting those who will listen know just what grace has done for and to us.
Because it is by that grace that their lives can undergo a transformation and re-creation which they have no way of understanding unless they see it in your eyes and hear in in your voice.
Jesus called us as “People” to share what he’s done with other People, so they might become disciples of the one who disciples us.
In the Grace of Jesus!