“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (I Peter 3:9)
Last week I introduced you to a modern day â€˜rich young ruler’; Reuel McFarland. Unlike his biblical counterpart, Reuel said yes when Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)
I shared with you that Reuel was â€˜set-up’ for life; the house, the Mercedes, the Rolex, the trust fund – a suburban Atlanta yuppie (do we still use that word?). He gave it all away to follow Jesus.
Today Reuel works in the kitchen of the Christ Church Guesthouse in Old Jerusalem … and he travels the world … and he’s an artist … and a musician … and a friend and inspiration to people from all walks of life and in almost every corner of the planet. Funny, how a life given to following Jesus makes it tough for others to put you in a box … or in Reuel’s case, a cubicle.
I also told you that I’d let Reuel do the talking this week, so I’ll shut up and do just that. The following is an entry Reuel’s blog: http://www.reuelmcfarland.blogspot.com/. Visit it; it’s worth the trip. As you read the words below, listen for the voice of someone who has discovered a life that money could never buy.
We gratefully remember those who encourage us in our lives; those who’ve demonstrated love.
A dear friend and brother of mine just died suddenly and unexpectedly- there were some things I’d like to tell him, and now I’ll have to wait until I get to Heaven- so he got Home before me.
We are scripturally admonished to encourage one another daily while it’s still today, so we don’t all become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, because we all live in an imperfect world.
Are we mindful to help people, or are we doing what’s all-too-easy these days: grumbling (and remaining mired in our situations)?
Will we be like God and bless even those who persecute us; praying for them, forgiving them like Jesus/Yeshua did?
We have incredible authority/responsibility to bless others. God given; ours by right in Him, if we know Him – a power He’s entrusted us with – to love as He does. We can be like The Lord in this.
If we’ll ask Him for it, He’ll give us the ability to see ourselves and others as He does. We have to choose to receive this love by faith (not always easy – we do live in a painful and fallen world), but then we must choose to share it too – the evidence of spiritual maturity – because there’s always more than enough for everyone in God.
What He says about us is good. When we bless others, we are sharing those good things, so that they will not evaporate, but will be of benefit. Faith plus action: It becomes an incredible habit eventually.
I see in the Jewish world that there is the habit of blessing the children. Jewish people percolate to the top of world cultures. Exceedingly rarely will you find a Jewish person in prison. Why? The habit of Blessing and Covering- both Scriptural Covenant and Relational covering. We have full access by being grafted in – the same privileges – but we must act upon it.
In ancient biblical times, the dying blessed the living. So why do we do it backwards, and wait for funerals to say nice things to/about people? Won’t do the dead any good. Florists are often well-employed by much regret. I’ve heard it said, “Better a rose while someone’s alive, than a wreath when they’re gone!”
Why not make the decision to bless people NOW? Don’t make assumptions that people know what you don’t share with them. Assumption leaves room for the Enemy to accuse, filling in the blanks with negatives; deception.
If we entreat The Lord to be able to treat people according to what they can be in Him, they’ll ultimately live up to that; this is scripturally proven and has been my experience also.
I’ve come to grow as a result of several ministries, for which I’m grateful: we all stand on the shoulders of many others. Here are areas The Lord showed to me:
#1) Exhortation (and practical application to life) – from Joyce Meyer (who’s well received in the Middle East- in an area where it’s most difficult to minister) – (www.joycemeyer.org)
#2) Healing – at Pleasant Valley Church (pleasantvalleychurch.net) an awesome place of Grace…
#3) Prophetic – exposing sin; proclaiming Righteousness; warning of judgment-
David Wilkerson (Times Square Church NYC, timessquarechurch.org)
#4) Teaching – Bill Gothard (www.IBLP.org) incredible structure / teaching / wisdom from the Word and a deep reverence appreciation for the Word & The Lord- a little on the conservative side, but good spiritual food.
#5) Mercy – the Messianic Movement (my Congregation, and Rabbi) such the heart of The Lord for These End Days – such Fellowship and family (Mishpochah in Hebrew).
#6) Giving – the small, black churches I’ve attended throughout the U.S – even my humble, little church took up a collection for me; Israel – $90.00 – this from only a handful – from those who have so little – such generosity. God has taught me much humility here and in places of ministry where I’m in healthy contact with the poor.
And truly none have been so effective in my life as individual relationships with His people – unique relationships birthed of His Spirit. Jesus/Yeshua is relational. If we know Him, we will also be relational. Relationships are the only thing we can take to Heaven.
Don’t wait for calamity to become sentimental. Be intentional about blessing. Ask God for creativity. It’s joy- seeing others blessed.
I love going into restaurants and cheering servers making their names for them in calligraphy; short notes also to let them know that God loves them specifically. It’s easy to forget how much it means – people often don’t know their own worth.
Back up encouragement with a generous tip; so it will hit home. Sadly, Christians either never tip, or worse still, just leave a religious Gospel tract which costs nothing – very religious (this is sinful).
When on the phone with business people, ask for supervisors to commend folks for a job well done, or even least-deserved accolades. Often you’ll have to wait as the (generally stunned) persons find someone – inconvenient, but well worth it – it ministers to The Lord, also to them (and their companies).
Similar situation on airplanes and at airports. God gives me the privilege of flying at times. The way to say thank You to Him? Every airline has comment cards. Flight crews are always amazed that anyone would speak well of their efforts – they’re just doing their job- they’ll initially protest. But I’m grateful. I remember times where human kindness was lean in my life, and I’m thankful I don’t have to walk or swim, but can fly.
One of the most painful things I’ve ever heard was from a damaged flight attendant. She was surprised that I’d engage her in conversation; telling me that people had spit on her, cursed at her, and even kicked her (her flight crew agreed, relating similar and heartbreaking experiences). I’d asked for an opportunity to share Yeshua / Jesus – but God used my meager and simple efforts to open a door to share for several hours about His Love.
Ministry to The Lord is represented in myriad and simple ways all about us. We can all get too busy: task-oriented vs. people-oriented. Patients in nursing homes aren’t busy- we don’t want to realize this too late in our own lives.
Now is the day of Salvation. Form a habit of gratitude as a continual worship of The Lord Who is Awesome and Worthy. I’m asking God for exponential attitudes of brokenness and humility and of gratitude and giving/sharing whatever I have from Him.
I’m finding that as I live blessing others, a strange thing is happening. I have hope in my own situations which ironically have previously seemed insurmountable.
God loves you. If you live this, you’ll bless others everywhere you go as a way of life- even with a good attitude and/or a smile- people notice the difference- they’ll ask you about your Hope.
Monday July 10, 2006
P.S. Don’t forget to pray for the Peace of Yerushaliyim (Jerusalem) first most. Then for the soldiers who are attempting to defend their little country, the approximate size in total, of most American large metropolitan areas (e.g. Atlanta, GA), and finally, regarding this Israel venture- that God’s Will be paramount…
Until next week,