Caring for the whole person

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John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”

Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.”  Matthew 11:2-5

There’s a difference between Jesus and many evangelicals today.

Evangelicals have always been primarily concerned about personal salvation and personal spiritual growth — stress on the personal. You accept Jesus, not just as your savior but as your personal savior. Where other people come into the picture, it’s all about witnessing to them to the end that they, too, might accept Jesus as their personal savior. Once that’s accomplished, you’re pretty much done, except maybe to get them into a local church.

Jesus, on the other hand, is constantly reminding us about our role in society. It’s what He did when He was here and it’s what He preached with the red letters. He talks about showing mercy, making peace, seeing that the poor are fed, that justice is done, that the needy get aid, and that the poor have the Good News preached to them.

If Jesus were here today, He would most likely be found among the homeless and the poor rather than on Wall Street. Not to say He doesn’t love those on Wall Street, it’s just that His message is more readily received by those who are hungry and needy, both physically and spiritually. It’s how He identified Himself to John the Baptist.

So if we’re going to concern ourselves with the red letters of the gospels, we are going to have to learn how to be concerned about the whole person, not just people’s souls. It’s the whole person we care for and the Good News comes along with that. That’s what the red letters keep telling us.

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8 Responses to Caring for the whole person

  1. Sandie says:

    An old saying/thought…”How can you convince someone that you want to spend eternity in heaven with them, if you can’t spare time to spend with them here on earth?”
    On the human side, I speak for myself when I say I get more respect, concern, patience, help, and so much more, from those who are labeled ‘unbelievers.’ We were told not to be friends with them because they could lead us back to sin. But with them I can relax and be myself and not worry about offending anyone in the process. I can leave the work of convicting someone in the hands of someone who knows how…and when…to do it…the Holy Spirit. Do I fall in the process? Sure, but there is an honesty about it; besides I don’t need anyone’s help to trip and fall.
    .Maybe that’s how Jesus felt too.Maybe He could relax and not have to be on guard.

  2. Salivation is an apt word considering it seems that many Christians are primarily concerned with whetting their own appetites and satisfying their personal hungers first.
    They’ll get around to feeding others “less fortunate” when it feels good or if they are unmistakably and most assuredly called to do so by God Himself (through miraculous revelation, of course)…

    • Sandie says:

      I caught that too Bob – wondered if it was a slip. But salivation is apt, as I distinctly remember my new believer days. I had no thought that there was a living, breathing human at the other end of my salvation pitch. There was no time, because I had to quickly move on to my next subject/victim to rack up salvation numbers I could brag about – not to mention the church or organization I represented. It wasn’t until I determined to really KNOW this man Jesus, that I realized how warped my approach to people was.

  3. drewdsnider says:

    This also speaks to something I’ve only recently realized: so many Worship songs focus on “what Jesus does for me” but I see very few that sing about “what Jesus can do for you – through me”. It’s a matter of considering less “Christ in me” and more “Christ in action”.

    • Sandie says:

      While having breakfast, I mentioned your observation with my husband. He remember another song we covered – Within My Reach by Scott Roley. There is an old standby that speaks of Christian working together to bring Christ to others – They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love/We Are One In The Spirit. There are a few others I thought of, that speak of Christians supporting each other while we work together to reach others for Christ – Brother To Brother by Scott Roley and We Will Stand by Russ Taff. I’m sure I’ll think of others.
      But you are right; most of what we call ‘worship’ music lacks the focus you are seeking.

  4. Sandie says:

    Drew – go to Youtube and listen to Two Hands by Love Song. I think you will like it. Blessings.

  5. Mark D Seguin says:

    Loved this: “… we are going to have to learn how to be concerned about the whole person, not just people’s souls.” Amen ❤ 🙂

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