In case we hadn't noticed, our age isn't exactly clamoring for another biblical message.
In fact, religion these days has sort of gotten a bad name (tarnishing even the NAME of Jesus, as if this is possible!). It seems just like any other business, more about the brand than caring for souls.Yet, on the other hand, there are also folks who are scandalized that religion has any business aspects at all.
But we know that even Jesus and his apostles collected money. So the scandal is not that religion has business aspects. It's that sometimes the do re mis overshadow his loving care.
As a pastor who has learned that caring is easier said than done, it's clear why Peter wisely said "Cast all your cares on him for he cares for you." (1Peter5.7) Anybody in any "ministry" requiring human care quickly learns that "without him I can't do anything."
And caring for others has become a care that so many people run from!
But if we let Jesus care for us, we'll never run from caring for folks again.
I remember my first overnight shift of hospital ministry in Lubbock Texas back in the day. To put it kindly (notice the self care), I didn't have much care to give. Nor was I cogent enough to even repeat Peter's wisdom.
And people have different needs. Some need "tough love", no wiggle room allowed. Others are sort of cracked, like pots that need God's gentle mending. Some need an ever-changing combination of both tough love and gentleness, and a steady flow of our mercy. Some need someone to listen and help them sort out thier priorities.
No wonder it's so easy to make a business of religion- when caring is such a challenge.
And of late it's not like we church folks can just say "I care" or "we care."
I don't know as I believe churches when they say this.
When it comes to caring, we have to deliver the goods, carry our cross, and love one another as Jesus loved us.
So where does this leave us?
It leaves us right where we belong- close to our good shepherd- his rod and staff firmly in his hands to guide us in his ways.
I'm trying out all sort of goodnews messages these days- and finding that there is none truer and more effective than "Jesus Cares."
Yes it's too obvious. I thought so too at first. I wanted to talk about revival or the second coming. But I'm finding there is a whole swath of folks, especially young folks, who have had no introduction to "God" at all, and are not convinced that anyone cares.
Jesus and His care are not at their school, at home, or on the street. And when they meet some of us "Christians" we're too busy on our way to church, having left the highways and bi-ways to the Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and the local pols.
For folks without much of any connection to God, if "God" exists, he's like a clock-maker who set the pendulum in motion, and then went on vacation.
Some also see this "Jesus Cares" message as too sappy. I wondered this myself. But as T.D. Jakes said, I'm paraphrasing, even grown men, all through their lives, need the care of a father.
And what did Jesus say- "if you have seen me, you've seen the Father."
So "Jesus Cares" is not too sappy. Every prodigal son, or gal, at whatever age, still needs him.To accept his care is to experience the care of a life-long father, and so to share in the very strength of God.
So on the gospel beat I need to tell folks that I know a man who knows all about us, and still cares and loves. Having rendered his blood proving this, no one has the right to paint him with the fleshy tarnish of not caring.
He cared so much that he emptied him righteousness and transferred to us: "cast all your cares on him for he cares for you."
He has proiven it!
His promise is to care for us.
Can anyone else, any government, any institution, or any corporation, any individual promise you this? And, always have the grace and love to back it up?
Oh this is too simple- we'll get it quickly if we have been to that place and time when "Jesus Cares" is both the truest statement ever, and is the very means of salvation itself.
Why wait to accept him in faith when he cares like no one else?
(If you'd like to know Jesus and begin your salvation walk, cared for by Jesus, contact Br. Tobin at 203.200.9177)
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...