Day 4 : December 21
Title: Christians Not a Band of Mourners
Scripture: Isaiah 58:7
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are [d]cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 1150
We have everything to be thankful for. Never ought Christians to move along like a band of mourners in a funeral train. God does not require this of His followers. He does not ask them to spread sackcloth and ashes under them. “Is it such a fast that I have chosen?” He asks;“a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?” God tells us what kind of fast He has chosen. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” This is the fast He wishes us to observe. In these words, our duty is outlined. God shows us where we should place our treasures. As we follow in the path of self-denial and self sacrifice, helping the needy and suffering, we shall lay up treasure before the throne of God (Manuscript 31, 1901).
My Life Today, p. 240
What is pure religion? Christ has told us that pure religion is the exercise of pity, sympathy, and love, in the home, in the church, and in the world. . . .
We are to think and care for others who need our love, our tenderness, and care. We should ever remember that we are representatives of Christ, and that we are to share the blessings that He gives, not with those who can recompense us again, but with those who will appreciate the gifts that will supply their temporal and spiritual necessities. Those who give feasts for the purpose of helping those who have but little pleasure, for the purpose of bringing brightness into their dreary lives, for the purpose of relieving their poverty and distress, are acting unselfishly and in harmony with the instruction of Christ.
All around us we see want and suffering. Families are in need of food; little ones are crying for bread. The houses of the poor lack proper furniture and bedding. Many live in mere hovels which are almost destitute of conveniences. The cry of the poor reaches to heaven. God sees; God hears.
The work of gathering in the needy . . . is the very work which every church that believes the truth for this time should long since have been doing. We are to show the tender sympathy of the Samaritan in supplying physical necessities, feeding the hungry, bringing the poor that are cast out to our homes, gathering from God every day grace and strength that will enable us to reach to the very depths of human misery and help those who cannot possibly help themselves. In doing this work we have a favorable opportunity to set forth Christ the crucified One.
Heart Challenge and Discussion Questions:
Is there someone in your life who is stuck in darkness? Or maybe someone who walked away from God, or someone who never seems to be able to stick with Jesus?
There is hope for all of them, and we should never give up praying, interceding, and laboring for the salvation of these precious individuals.
Who came to your mind as you reflected upon helping the needy and suffering? What names may need your daily and continual intercession? Take a few minutes to write down their names and commit to pray for them today.
- What did Christ say is pure religion?
- What personal responsibility does Jesus place upon the members of His church? (Ministry of Healing, p. 201.3)
- What do these passages tell you as a member of the household of faith?
- How can you respond to the needs around want and suffering?
- Do you desire to be part of the work of gathering the needy? What actions can you take in order to heed this message?
- What will enable us to reach the very depths of human misery and help those who cannot possibly help themselves?
- Write down the name of 7 people on a prayer list. Commit to pray for them every day.
- Pray for a heart that has compassion for lost people all around you.
- Pray for deeper consecration to God’s Word.
- Pray for your neighbors who do not know God.
- Pray for the youth and young adults that will be in attendance at the GYC Conference, that they will see Jesus displayed and long to follow and know Him more.
- Pray for the outreach activities that will happen at the GYC Conference, that there will be divine appointments and responses for Bible study.