Hearing the call to action
By Rev. Brad McKenzie
“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2:4 (NLT)
This command from the Apostle Paul preludes an amazing description of who Jesus was and is, what He did and how eventually all nations will worship Him.
We humans are innately concerned with our personal comforts, desires and needs. Part of maturing and learning what God intended love to be is moving from a position of hostility (concerned with self and battling to preserve it) to a position of hospitality (concerned with the needs and desires of others before our own). Following Paul’s directive of being intentional about interest in others is not simply a compassionate emotion or the always popular, “well bless their heart,” but a call to an action that moves us not only emotionally but to do things that make a difference.
Every one of us has something to contribute to the betterment of someone else.
Paul speaking again, this time from Galatians 6: 2-3 says, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” (NLT)
The law of Christ is a law of love. Taking interest in others is embodying love by helping people in their time of need. It is fair for all of us to confess that no one is too busy or too important to help someone when a tragedy has happened, or they are just a bit down. Small efforts can go a long way when we intentionally notice, take interest and reach out.
When my father was only six years old the sound of a knock came on the family door that would alter their future and even have significance for generations to come.
The knock came after midnight, these kinds of knocks normally do, and the door was anxiously answered by my grandmother who was there alone with her two children. The message from the guys at the oil company was that there had been an accident where my grandfather and many others were working on the pipeline and her husband was caught between two heavy trucks and was almost cut in half.
They when on to tell my grandmother that they had taken my grandfather to the small county hospital and the whole family needed to get there without any delay.
Later when the doctor came to talk to my grandmother and the rest of the extended family, they were told that they had done emergency surgery and that my grandfather had died on the table. The doctor went on to say that somehow, they were able to bring him back from death, that he was alive, but it would be a miracle if he survived the night.
Well, he survived the night and eventually went home to convalesce.
It was in his recovery that there came another knock on the door.
This time it was the pastor of the Church of the Nazarene in that small Oklahoma town. That knock is a knock that still sounds today.
That pastor had heard that my grandfather had been nearly killed, and although my grandparents did not attend that church, in fact they did not attend any church, he wanted to stop by and check on them and see if the church could do anything to help them during that difficult time.
This pastor was looking to the interests of others and working to share the burdens of a family in need. That second knock led to my grandfather coming to know Jesus Christ, recovering from his near-death experience and becoming part of that small-town church that had reached out to them in their need.
In fact, my grandfather took on the responsibility of working and ministering to the youth and he began the heritage of service that my family continues today.
I think often of the importance of that knock in who I am and where I am today. That knock led my grandfather’s transformation and set up a legacy for my family to raise me in the Lord and eventually find a calling to vocational pastoral ministry.
The calling God has given me is to continue to be intentional about where I can also knock (or text, email or message) and seek out those who need someone to care for them.
The Lord desires to use all of us in His kingdom to seek out where love is needed the most. I encourage you to ask the Lord to lead you to be intentional about how you can be interested in, help and bear the needs of others.
In your greatest time of need, the Lord calls on everyday people to reach out and remind you that “YOU ARE LOVED!”
That is Good News!
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Frist Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.
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