Ever since church on Sunday, all I have been thinking about is spices and I remembered some special words the Lord put on a person’s heart once. I don’t know who originally said it, but he said, “Variety is the spice of life”. What a powerful message of so few words.
To have variety means to be diverse, to be different, and to expand the range of something.
When you spice something up you mix it together with something else, whether it is one spice or a mixture of spices. You add flavor and vigor to something bland so it becomes more robust, you might even give it a little twang of energy with a calming effect.
When you don’t have variety you tend to do the same thing, the same way most, if not all, the time. You take on something called a habit. Though forming habits is not always a bad thing, habits tend to take the spiciness out of whatever it is you are doing and without that spiciness you can become dull, bland or even stagnant.
If you look at some churches today, many have tended to become segregated. Not because they intended to, but because the way they do things, or the type of people which attend them were just always the same. There is no variety and the things they do become habits. Habitual churches might only be full of rich people; some might only be one race or speak only one language, some might be overly ritualistic, while others don’t have any ritual at all.
The Word of God teaches us that all men are equal in God’s eyes. As children of God, there is no difference in race, sex or social standing. We are all the same. (Galatians 3:28)
If you look at your body, the feet or hands are not the same as the eyes, yet they are part of the same body. People of God may not look or talk the same, but they are, in fact, different parts of the same body. But when you put all the feet into one place, how can they get to where they need to be without the legs and muscles to get them there? The buttock may have a lower position than the brain, but the brain would be filthy if it didn’t have the buttock to get rid of the waste. And no part of the body could get anywhere at all without the heart to give them life.
How does this apply to individual people?
Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
When you have both rich and poor in the same church, the poor can get the encouragement and support needed to believe they can be more than what they are, while the rich can be humbled by the experiences of the poor. Each one helps the other, creating a balance. But if you don’t have that variety, you have one-sidedness and there is no balance. This imbalance can be corrected with something called an invitation.
And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:12-14
Reach out and invite the people in. Maybe have a Sunday morning breakfast before church and invite the poor and the homeless in. Feed them, nourish them and love them the way God desires you to.
This would give you opportunity to talk to them, sharing with them and nurturing them. It would give you opportunity to help them to see that they are real people, not cast aways, and not failures. You can give them a shoulder to lean on and help them overcome by strengthening them with the word of God. You will help them build their faith and believe that God WILL NOT let them down. You can help them to see and understand the true love and salvation of Christ. While helping them, you will gain understanding, seeing things from the other side. This can build up your faith and your capacity to love will expand naturally and you will grow closer and closer to the Lord.
Something I am constantly telling my children is that sometimes you need to step into the others shoes in order to see things from their prospective. This gives you better understanding of what they are going through and it also helps you to see yourself from the others prospective also.
Stepping into another’s shoes can help you see many things differently and give you the opportunity to have a more robust full-bodied flavor.
One more quick thought on reaching out to those in need…
There is a parable in Matthew 25 which tells of how Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats. To the sheep the Lord says “I was a stranger and you let me in, you gave me something to eat, something to drink, you clothed me, you visited me when I as sick and came to me when I was in prison.” To the goats He said “You did none of these things.” The people did not understand how they could have done or not done these things because they did not see Him and His response was “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did (or did not do) to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did (or did not do) to Me.
Those who are in need probably won’t come unless their invited. So step out of that comfort zone, and don’t be a people pleaser, but be a God pleaser.
Focus on what the love of God is REALLY about. It’s not about coming into a church service each and every Saturday, Sunday or Wednesday. It’s about reaching out to others just as Christ reached out for you. Get out there on the limb and take a chance, and trust in God. God will give you the people and the tools necessary to help you.
Remember always that though bad habits are hard to break, with good habits the rewards are great. And your rewards in heaven are far greater than they ever will be here on earth.
Follow your heart and let the love of God guide your path.