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<< iPod Devotionals, with Dave Burchett

Why Aren't His Arms Reaching?

  • 2010 May 03

I am a huge fan of the group Casting Crowns. So it is no surprise that a song from the Atlanta based group would come up in this series. The lyrics from the song "If We Are The Body" are convicting.

It's crowded in worship today
As she slips in
Trying to fade into the faces
The girls' teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know

But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching

And if we are the Body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way
There is a way

We are the Body of Christ. So why aren't His arms reaching? Why aren't His hands healing? I am afraid the answer is a hard truth. We don't care enough for the lost. We don't ache for the hurting. We don't sacrifice for the poor. 

Today I had a disturbing realization. As I walked down the streets of San Francisco and saw dozens of homeless and hopeless people it occurred to me that I care far more about my immediate wants than I did about these lonely people's needs. Yeah, I know it sometimes feels overwhelming when you see the vast needs and incredible suffering. But I can do something. I could climb out of my cozy little Christian "Snuggie" and get a little dirty. Helen Keller once said, "I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do."

I am not trying to shovel guilt on you or myself. There is a place for nice things and entertainment and leisure enjoyment. That is part of the many blessings our God grants to His children. But the fact that I have too often spent more time (by far) reading about the sports page than I have reading God's Word is revealing. I spend too much time getting frustrated by the news instead of making a difference where I can.  Maybe if we had been more intentional about "being" the Body of Christ the government would not have been tempted to do our jobs for us.  I want the grace that God has given me to make my heart sensitive toward the poor and hurting and spiritually seeking. It is hard to spend much time in the New Testament and not realize our challenge to be the Body of Christ. Here is a very small sample.

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? (1 John 3:17 ESV)

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16 ESV)

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17 ESV) 

For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. (Hebrews 6:10 ESV)

And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27 ESV)

There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet. (Acts 4:34-37 ESV)

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4 ESV)

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 ESV)

The charge of hypocrisy leveled at the church has a lot to do with our obsession with sin management over living a life of grace and service. If I am not am not living out of grace then His arms aren't reaching as far as they could. The lyrics continue…

Why is His love not showing them there is a way
There is a way

I know by the grace of God that there is a way. His love is the way. What if His people really cared? What if I really cared? Wouldn't it make a difference? There is one way to find out. That way is for us to take seriously that we are the Body of Christ. And then act accordingly. Straight talking James writes in the Book of James that "to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin."

I cannot argue that I do not know the right thing to do. My response will reveal my heart.


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