The homeless man
A missionary couple took a trip to Central America to visit a remote tribe that was only accessible by river. As they ministered in that dirty and impoverished Indian village they were invited to dinner by one of the local families.
While they sat on the mats on the dirt floor of the small candle-lit hut, they watched as their hosts emptied the wooden shelves of its few supplies in order to provide dinner. The couple noticed the anxious looks on the children’s faces as the shelves were depleted. The couple began to realize that this food was the only resource of the family. This Indian family gave all that they had to show their love for these missionaries.
The sacrifice of the Indian family is difficult for us in the United States of America to understand. We are taught by society at an early age to look out for ourselves, and maybe our immediate family, but anyone else needs to go to the government for help. Since we have become a global society, it is even worse since the expectation is that the United Nations will take care of everyone. The bottom line is that we are taught to take care of ourselves first, to “look out for No. 1.”
But what does God say to us?
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2, ESV)
When we sacrifice our bodies, I believe we do this in three ways. We sacrifice our time, we sacrifice our resources and we sacrifice our lifestyle. Sacrificing in all three ways seems impossible. Some of us are willing to sacrifice our time and some of us are willing to sacrifice our resources, but do not ask us to sacrifice our lifestyle. We like our life the way it is. We like our society the way it is as long as we are not asked to get involved.
When Jesus Christ came to this earth he gave of his time, he gave of his resources and he certainly gave of his lifestyle. His lifestyle in heaven was, and is, that of God to whom all praise and honor was and is given. Even though he was true God and sinless man on earth his lifestyle was that of a homeless man, someone who had to rely on followers to provide shelter and other needs. As he stated,”Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20, ESV)
Because of His love for us, that homeless man, Jesus, sacrificed everything and he calls us to follow him in that sacrifice for one another and for our society.
Pastor Jim Beilstein of Trinity Lutheran Church is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.