I’m reading a book I really, really am afraid to read. It’s not scary like that time I decided to read The Amityville Horror. It is a deeper, this is going to rock my world and change my heart kind of scary. I knew I was in trouble when I felt convicted and challenged, and I wasn’t even out of the prologue.
I wish I could put it down and forget it. Unfortunately I feel called to read it and, I guess what I’m truly afraid of, is that I am called to live it.
It all started when our office got a book called God and Money, which is the result of two Harvard MBAs turning to God’s word to gain wisdom regarding money. That book led me to this book, The Hole in Our Gospel written by World Vision President Richard Stearns. The book doesn’t teach that there’s anything wrong with the gospel God gave us — just with how we’ve implemented it into this safe, “fire-insurance” way of dealing with the world. We care for souls, but we’re gonna turn the channel if the commercial about starving kids comes on. Because we’d rather not see that.
Who’d want to see that sadness? Who would touch lepers and people who are bleeding? Who would talk with and care for the outcast? Well, Jesus would.
And since the church is the body of Christ, well, I’m guessing you get the picture.
This morning, I read the end of 1 John. It talks about love. It says, simply, famously, and profoundly, “God is love.” And that we need to abide in His love, not for our sakes so that we feel all warm and cared for (although that’s a benefit), but so that we can love others.
Page one of this book I’m reading — PAGE ONE — has a quote from Mother Teresa that sort of sums up what my heart is learning.
Christ has no body on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.
Your eyes are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out;
yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.
Stearns writes in that prologue I mentioned about visiting a child-headed household in Uganda and talking with a boy who has been left to care for his siblings after his parents died of AIDS: “(the boy told him, ‘I love to read the book of John, because it says that Jesus loves the children.’
“This overwhelmed me, and my tears started to flow. Forgive me, Lord, forgive me. I didn’t know. But I did know. I knew about poverty and suffering in the world. I was aware that children die daily from starvation and lack of clean water. I also knew about AIDS and the orphans it leaves behind, but I kept these things outside of my insulating bubble and looked the other way.”
I can only echo his prayer. Forgive me, Lord.