LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR
“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
Have you ever heard of incarnational
ministry? The first time I heard the phrase I had no idea what it meant;
it might be the same with you. The phrase is drawn from the fact that, in
order to save us, Jesus became like us. He put aside heavenly glory and
honor. He even put aside authority and power for a time, so that He might
live a life of perfect obedience. The Creator of all things entered His
creation, took on flesh, and walked as we walk. Christ taking on flesh is
what we call the "incarnation" and that's where the phase comes
from. And remember, Jesus didn’t spend the bulk of His time with educated
and religious people; He hung around with sinners and tax collectors. That’s
what God’s love looked like in Jesus’ life, and it is probable that that is
what it should look like in ours.
Paul seemed to follow the same incarnational pattern in his ministry. He says: “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” --1 Cor. 9:22 (also see 1 Cor. 10:33 and Rom. 15:1-2). In other words, Paul did whatever he had to do and went where ever he need to go in order to have the opportunity to share the good news of Christ. And many times, it wasn't to places that he would have chosen himself.
I would encourage all of us to prayerfully consider what this means to us, as individuals and as a church. How can we be more “incarnational” where we live, or learn, or work, or play? Would you pray and ask the Lord to reveal ways that you can become more involved in the lives of others – saints and sinners alike – so that the name and fame of Jesus might be increased?
--- Pastor Keith Andrews