Is it about being Christian, or being Christ-like? What is more important? The label or the work?
Perhaps you have seen the video about a Hindu man of the Brahman caste who quit his job to feed the poor and destitute in his city in India. His name is Narayanan Krishnan. He cooks breakfast, lunch, and supper and goes out into the streets and feeds them. He doesn’t just drop the food and leave. He feeds them by hand, himself. This is against the rules for his caste to do, but he does it because he feels it is the right thing to do. He also will shave them and bathe them if needed. He has commented that it is important to feed the soul as well as the body – to let these people know that someone cares for them as a human being, and that they are loved.
He and his team feed thousands of people every day. They feed the old, the sick, the mentally ill. They feed all the people that society has thrown out, has deemed as worthless.
This Hindu is very Christ-like. It isn’t about faith or religion, but service and love. Of course, there are plenty of people who say they are Christian who will say that he is going straight to hell – meanwhile they aren’t doing anywhere near the amount of service he is doing.
Jesus says in Matthew 12:50 50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven, that person is My brother and sister and mother.”
There is also story in the Gospels about the disciples getting ticked off because they see people who aren’t part of the group doing their work. They feel jealous and threatened. They are angry. In Mark 9:38-41 we read “38 John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.” 39 “Don’t stop him,” said Jesus, “because there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name who can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40 For whoever is not against us is for us. 41 And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of My name, since you belong to the Messiah—I assure you: He will never lose his reward.”
I believe the goal of Christianity is to bring Jesus to people, rather than bringing people to Jesus. That we are supposed to serve them in the same way that Jesus served them – love, heal, feed, encourage. Not to convert them. But I say this on my blog and “Christians” attack me for it. I find it crazy that I’m all for the love and the service and they freak out over it. Like love is a bad thing.
I’ve decided I no longer care what they think. They are on their own path. For me to try to convert them is just as pointless as them trying to convert me. I’m trying to love them anyway, to see their pain and their need to control in their words. They were taught this intolerance, these words. They haven’t woken up yet. They think I’m asleep too, that I’m blind too.
They’ll throw the “I am the way” verse at me as their proof that you can’t be Hindu and be saved. They don’t get it. It isn’t about being saved so much as saving. Who cares if you “are saved” and you keep it all to yourself? Who would want to convert to a religion that is all about guilt and control? Not me. This is why I say I’m reluctantly Christian. Actually I think “Jesus follower” sounds better. More accurate.
I’d rather know of a Hindu who does the work of Jesus than know of a person who says they are a Christian but all they do is tell people they need to “accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.”
What is the value of “accepting Jesus” if you don’t do the work? It isn’t about lip service. It is about service. It is about humbling yourself. It is about being a servant. It is about taking up the yoke and following Jesus, by doing His work.
In James 2:14-17 we read “Jesus says “14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can his faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.”
Christians argue all the time about what denomination has it figured out and what doesn’t. Christians also say that Christians as a whole are better off than non-Christians. More enlightened. Closer to God.
Nobody is, if they aren’t willing to do the work.
In Mark 9:33-35 we read “33 Then they came to Capernaum. When He was in the house, He asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34 But they were silent, because on the way they had been arguing with one another about who was the greatest. 35 Sitting down, He called the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
Jesus came to teach us to serve, and to teach us that God is real, and loves us. That is it. That is what we are called to do. We are to serve everyone. We are to let them know that God is real, and that God loves them. We are to show them love. Not guilt-trip them or judge them.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on the left. 34 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 foundation of the world.
35 For I was hungry
and you gave Me something to eat;
I was thirsty
and you gave Me something to drink;
I was a stranger and you took Me in;
36 I was naked and you clothed Me;
I was sick and you took care of Me;
I was in prison and you visited Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’
40 “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’ 41 Then He will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels!
42 For I was hungry
and you gave Me nothing to eat;
I was thirsty
and you gave Me nothing to drink;
43 I was a stranger
and you didn’t take Me in;
I was naked
and you didn’t clothe Me,
sick and in prison
and you didn’t take care of Me.’
44 “Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help You?’
45 “Then He will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either.’
46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
(All translations of the Bible are from the Holman Christian Standard Version.)