Romans 12:14-16 (NKJV)
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
My time in Tanzania has given me a love for the peoples of Africa. Having said that, the people I struggle with most in Africa are the self-appointed prophets of God. These people, both men and women, prey on the desperation of their followers. They promise great blessings from God while they are actually stealing the little bit of hard-earned money their followers have in their possession. These prophets strut around like they are to be honoured and praised. They drive off from the meetings in new SUVs and are dressed to the extreme, while their followers continue to struggle in poverty.
Jesus said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Matthew 8:20 (NIV). Jesus was not about pomp and ceremony. His attention was fixed on bringing spiritual life and health to as many people as he could. His disciples understood the calling to follow Jesus involved also adopting the same lifestyle and spirit that Jesus displayed.
The apostle Paul was a prominent Jewish leader before becoming a follower of Jesus. He knew what it was to have power, privilege and perks that came with his position. Now that he was a follower of Jesus, he understood that the lifestyle of a follower is one of simplicity, kindness and humility. Paul reminds all of us that we do not stand alone or separate. We are a community of people, God’s people, and how we live, and act will speak to who and what we are as a community.
The great joy of being in a community is that we are supported and share together in the good times and the difficult times. In these days of “lock down” and virus fears, remember that you never stand alone. Jesus promises to be with us always, but so too does the rest of our faith community. We are one in Christ and stand together as one.
Lord help me to be a good witness to the world in the way that I live and help me to know and to be a good supporter to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.