"And how shall they preach, except they be sent?" Romans 10:15a
Over the years I’ve often been amazed at the inconsistency of how the saints regard one another. There have been times when in the presence of the treatment of one saint toward another that I was almost positive that one or both were suffering from a short term neurotic disorder or maybe possible brain freeze due to temporary insanity. I have deemed it the most bizarre and fruitless scene of self ego exhibited among people who claim to know Jesus. Oh, I almost forgot that’s how the devil absolutely loves for us to behave. What happened to the exhortation Paul made in Colossians 3? “Put on therefore, as the elect of God holy and beloved , bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”
The year is 1979 and our location is Texas ---------
My husband had been asked to fill in as the church organist in a rather large one God denominational church in a city north of Dallas, Texas.
My husband and I had just recently returned from boot camp, (Oops, I meant to say the evangelist field) and our clothes were a little on the worn side. I felt I had been so fortunate when I found my husband a Neiman Marcus suit for $10 from the local Goodwill. He did have a pair of black shoes to wear with his one and only new used suit; however they did have holes in the soles. To compound the problem he was tearing holes in every pair of socks with the sharp edges of the plastic bowl lids he was using as inserts to cover the mammoth size holes! He only prayed it didn’t rain. Of course you know it would only be a matter of time before someone saw the big white circles on the bottom of his shoes since the organ was on a raised platform. And wouldn’t you know it, it had to be the pastor of the church who saw what appeared to be a pair of white eyes starring down at him from the organ peddles. He politely motioned to him to keep his feet down.
Unfortunately my wardrobe was also on the minuscule side also. Two skirts, two blouses and a pair of white sandals. I soon learned if your clothing did not meet up to the church apparel code you were cast to the side and did not warrant a welcome greeting. Being very young in the Lord I was so hurt because I wanted to find friendship among these sisters. I was under the mistaken idea that everyone was welcome with open arms and all gathered together in the church to fight the slings and arrows of the world and renew their strength in the Holy Ghost. Our family continued to attend this church until a resident organist was found.
Here is the sad part of the story – Several years later our family was on our way home from my Dad’s funeral when we decided to visit this church. Since our last visit there God had blessed my husband with a very successful insurance agency. I will never forget walking into the foyer in a new Kasper suit along with Stuart Weitzman shoes. The very same people didn’t even remember me from our past visits; however, this time I was welcomed with open arms and treated like royalty. I had to excuse myself to the ladies room because all I could do was cry. All I could think about were other people who had crossed the threshold into this church and were treated as though they were invisible because of the clothes they wore.
If a person gets sick do we pray for them ONLY or do we also bring them food, run errands and help with the children. We Apostolic/Pentecostals are quick to pray for the sick but many times we do not act to relieve the burden. For example, the Baptists are known for bringing food when one is sick visiting them in the hospital if they are hospitalized and clothing people if they are naked and visiting them if they are in prison. This is not a suggestion from the Lord it is a commandment that we love the brethren. Believers who do not walk in love are many times fearful. They may fear for their jobs, have a fear of losing their money or simply fear death. Fear has torment. There is no fear in love. Perfect love cast out fear. Rather than dwell upon ourselves we should seek to help others. For in so doing the law of love will take care of our problems. The Lord said if you desire to be loved, simply give love. If you desire mercy simply be merciful.
How do we know that God dwells in us? Because we have love for the brethren. Is a person walking in the Spirit when he does evil to his brother? Everybody will tell you they love. That’s a good one. Let me give you an example. It was summer and we were on a tent lot in Shreveport, La 1977 where a revival was being held and we were in charge of looking after the tent. We had no running water, two small children ages 3yrs and 6 yrs and the cupboards were bare. A stranger stopped by the travel trailer one day and said, “Mister I don’t know why I am supposed to give this to you, but here is $100.” My husband asked him to come in and he would show him why. He said that wasn’t necessary. When asked where he went to church he stated he didn’t attend church.
John tells us if we love one another it’s shown by our actions of love that God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us. We are not to love in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth. The bottom line is true love is deemed as charity when our works of love are shown by our deeds toward one another.
Of course love is not sensual or self serving, but from God. Therefore the work of the cross is seen in charity. Therefore as Paul said, we glory in tribulations. Knowing that tribulation works patience; patience works experience; and experience works hope. You will not be ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in the believers’ hearts by the Holy Ghost. Paul stated in the book of Acts concerning the kingdom of God: “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 17:26).
It is impossible to please God without faith and faith works by love. Charity is God’s love in action. It’s always kind one to another. Unfortunately, jealousy sometimes abounds in our pulpits, as one preacher is jealous of another. But charity is not jealous neither does it envy. Some lift up themselves as being greater in the faith than others, promoting themselves in the kingdom of God being puffed up and proud. But charity is not puffed up, but shows the self sacrifice of love. Still others are quick with the tongue to cut and devour one another. But love provokes unto good works. Some people rejoice when they hear that evil has come upon a brother or sister thinking to promote themselves. But charity has nothing to do with evil and rejoices only in the truth. A person that walks in love manifesting charity will never have a cause of stumbling because he or she fulfils the love of Christ which is the law of Christ. For all the law and the prophets is summed up in one sentence: Love the Lord God with all your heart; and To love thy neighbor as thy self. If a person does this they will be full of the light of God.
I do thank God for all the times we have been without and count it an honor to preach the gospel regardless of circumstances. Don’t get me wrong God has blessed. Instead of a barren travel trailer I now live in a 40 foot Bluebird Wanderlodge. My husband preaches a 60 by 170 foot gospel tent. Our son and his family and our daughter and her husband travel with us. God has truly blessed.
I look forward to seeing you on the field and hopefully the cupboards won’t be bare or a stranger outside of church won’t have to give us a $100 for food.