I read this Scripture this morning.
There's just something about reading passages from different versions of the Bible that gives you new insights into Scriptures you've read a million times. I absolutely adore The Message. I know some people don't approve, but c'est la vie!
This particular set of verses gives us direct instructions on what God wants us to do.
Here goes ...
"What I'm interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.' (Isaiah 58:7-9 MSG)
So ... breaking this down ...
God is interested in us:
1. Feeding the hungry.
2. Sheltering to the homeless.
3. Clothing the naked.
And ... here's the one that got to me:
4. Being available to our family.
That means to be present. Be ready and willing to help with anything your family needs. Just be available.
NOW, once we do these things, it says our lives will "turn around at once." In addition, God will answer us when we pray.
These verses pretty much break down the whole thought of Christianity for me. Christianity is about loving God and loving others. It seems so simple in thought. But, loving God and people is not just in thought, it must be in deed also. That's where our daily living comes in.
AND ... that's the hard part. It's called "crucifying the flesh."
We can have full intentions of doing all the things listed in these verses. We really want to. But, what does that look like in everyday life? It's not like we're going to pick up a homeless person every day and bring them home or hunt all over town for a naked person to give clothes to.
Sure. We give to shelters and Goodwill. We go to soup kitchens and serve meals. We give money to support causes that accomplish these things. But, I think in today's world, God gives us opportunities to put this into practice in not-so-literal words. If this is what He's looking for, then we have to have opportunities.
I think each of us have these opportunities every day with people we come into contact with. The problem is we may not recognize it or we just don't have time to see it.
There are people we know and meet that are hungry for friendship and acceptance. There are even more longing for a family and a place to call home. And, there are those that desire a covering of love and grace. There are lots of needs that we can fulfill on a daily basis if we look for them.
And, then there's that last one that holds equal weight: being available for your family. We can't forget that one. It's equally important. Sometimes we do forget that it's a big deal to God.
I definitely want God to answer my prayers and bless me. But, more than that, I want my desire to please God and love God to be first. Then, those things He wants me to do just come naturally.
I want to want Him more than His blessings.