Hebrews 13:1 (NLT) Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.
There are many stories popping up from time to time about ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. These men and women do what they do and then the news article reports and “they just disappeared”. Every day heroes, modern day saints, just regular people who could not walk away. There was a terrible car accident. A drunk driver slammed into the car of a young woman. It was a horrible wreck. Despite ongoing efforts, her condition was worsening and they could not extract her from the mangled automobile. A priest came upon the scene. He anointed her with oil and prayed for her. He then told the first responders to try again. When they did, she miraculously was removed and they were able to save her life. The man just disappeared. Some touted him to be an angel and others mocked those who would hope. One commented on the story, “so now angels come dressed as priests.” I have to laugh a little because there is irony in ignorance because angels do come in all shapes and forms. Yes, even as a priest.
After much hoopla, ABC News found the priest. The angel’s identity known, suddenly no one focused on the miracle but the man who “produced” it. Sadly this is the case most of the time. People do not chase after God who is the Miracle Maker, but rather those who He uses. How do we just disappear so all they see is Jesus? How do we keep the spotlight on Jesus and not all the wonderful things that He does? I want God to get all the Glory for my life. How do I make sure that the spotlight remains on the Lord? There are many preachers today who have forgotten how to do that. They didn’t mean to step into such a role. Humility is tough. Humans come with pride. The Power of God in us is strong and indisputable. Those who tap into it must daily crucify flesh as not to be overcome by pride and self-righteousness.
We have the opportunity each day to “entertain angels without realizing it.” God supplies all of our needs. He gives us an abundance so that it can overflow into the lives of other people. He fills us with everything that we want, need and desire to fulfill His Divine Purpose and live for His Glory. The question is not can we, but will we? Will we choose to stop looking for ways to blessed and become a blessing? I am challenged by this today. I decrease, You increase. It’s all about you, Jesus – it’s not about me. (John 3:30)
Matthew 25:34-40 (NLT) “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”
We must become socially challenged as the church to meet the needs of a dark and dying world. It is easy to be caught up in the order of worship, production and weekly services. God is looking for those who will take heavenly hospitality out to those trapped in the bondage of life. We walk by angels unaware on our way to church. Those who lay down their life for a friend, please Jesus. But getting involved with people is messy, especially those who live in terrible conditions or complicated circumstances. It may require giving something that we do not want to give. The priest may have been running late for mass that day. Sitting in his car in traffic backed up due to the horrible accident, maybe something compelled him to get out and see what was going on. Perhaps, and this may be pure speculation, he wandered upon the scene compelled by the Holy Spirit. His actions in that moment did not go unnoticed but he didn’t want to wait for recognition for he had a church of people waiting. In one moment, he just did what he knew to do and went about his business.
See miracles, signs and wonders are not really for those who believe, but for those who walk by sight. Those who believe just want to be in His Presence to live in that secret place where they know that He is close. Knowing by His Word that God can AND will, such people are so in love with the Lord that they just want to please Him. Their compassion is not based on anything other commitment to Jesus Christ and a deep desire to be where He is. What if we just disappeared in the Presence of God rather than basking in His Glory? What if we gave and walked away? To love Jesus and let Him be the One in the spotlight again. What if? I wonder. Notice what the “righteous ones” replied when blessed by the King, “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?” The Lord’s Response – when you did it for the least of your brothers or sisters – that is when you did it for me. How we respond to people when we think no one is watching matters. The way we live when it is not required is the point. The Lord is looking for those people who will give their lives away without looking for immediate blessing or glorification. Those who will just lay down their life day by day.
Matthew 6:1-4 (NLT) “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”
What can I do for the Kingdom and just disappear? How can I learn to live in such a way that the focus is not on me only Jesus? To be a good steward of our life is to tithe our time, talent and treasure to Jesus Christ. If I gave away just ten percent of my time, talent and treasure to others what would it look like? Tithing is the easy way out if it only means writing a check when we get paid by our employer. It is the percentage of our life given to God that nobody knows about that blesses His Heart. The time we give to others whether they know it or not. The things we do when nobody is watching that result in His Glory. “But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Hmmm, so when I give my life away it is best to just disappear. We can learn from the actions of the priest that day. He walked right in the middle of things – did what the Lord told him to do – and attempted to disappear. What can I do to bless God today and then just disappear? Do I need people to recognize my good works or am I okay waiting on the Father to bless my life? Your Father who sees everything will reward you when serving Him is a private matter that speaks a consistent message in our life. We do not need the attention or affirmation of others when we become confident in the Lord and His Ability to validate our life through genuine faith. It is better to give than receive. We must give our life away day by day moment by moment to please the Father without looking for personal praise. After all – it’s all about Him and not about me. Our mission today is to “keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters”. We must remember those in bondage. It is up to us to experience the pain and plight of others as if it were firsthand… and then just disappear. We are the hands and feet of Jesus today. Everything we have and can do is from the Father with Love. Let all we do today be wrapped in Love for the Glory of God.
John 15:13 (NLT) There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.