homeless-christ

Artwork by Deb Hoeffner- http://www.debhoeffner.com

One of the biggest secrets to a change in heart, soul, mind and existence can be found in a simple command of Jesus in the book of Matthew.  I say “simple” yet following through with this command is not as easy as it may sound.  It involves a “letting go” of things, possessions, belongings, basically anything that we may need or value.  It involves separating from these things, and caring for the needs of others.  This is a pivotal teaching of Christ, in that obedience to this command in the end will identify those that belong to Him.  This teaching comes from the same biblical chapter that mentions the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, and the parable of the talents- expanding on both of these stories by explaining what it means to be wise, and what it means to invest your talents.  Let’s take a look at exactly what He said:

“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” ~ Matthew 25:35-46

This command from Jesus carries with it the path to freedom and a new and renewed mind.  It also reveals the opposite path leading to destruction.  Many today are so constantly concerned with their own well being, that the thought of coming to the aid of another is foreign.  Multitudes pass that poor smelly homeless man on the street and walk quickly by hoping he doesn’t notice.  Many drive by poor men seeking help, food, and relief and the common assumption is “he must be a drunk or a drug addict- I won’t give him any cash.”  Some pass by, not even making eye contact with those in need.  Some see someone afflicted, and say- someone else will take care of them.  Many see someone condemned to prison, and choose to condemn them as well as if they themselves were the victims of their crime.  Many that are fortunate and blessed with earthly things, would rather sell their excess old items, clothes, etc- for gain, than donate them to someone in need.  In our refusal to help someone in need- we are prisoners.  We are in oppressive and heavy chains.  We become imprisoned by our own selfishness.

Letting Go

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Fulfilling this command to care for the needs of others requires us to simply let go of the constant stress  we place upon ourselves to provide for our own needs.  We are taught to believe that we have complete control over our precious wealth, and in wealth we find freedom.  It is because of self concern, that many fail the test of caring for the needs of others.  For a moment, just try to assume that you really have no control over your life, your money, or your destiny.  For a moment, consider that today could be your last day on this earth.  For just a moment, picture the needy as your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your child, or your friend.  Now go a step further, and picture the needy as Jesus Christ (just as he indicates in his instructions from Matthew)- “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  Let go of this love for self that has inhibited your life for so long.  Self preservation leads to self destruction.

Put on Love

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To care for the needs of others, we have to break down walls and barriers that have been self built sometimes for decades.  We’ve been hurt, taken advantage of, dragged through the dirt, beaten physically or mentally, and the natural reaction is to create a wall.  We create a dwelling place where no one else is allowed to enter.  It is our “safe zone.”  Some find out after many years that this safe zone is a very lonely and depressing place to dwell.  Safe Zone dwellers typically only look out for themselves and their own interests.  They leave little room for compassion, as they feel that no one has had compassion on them, so why should they extend compassion to others.  It is a cold and heartless mindset.  If we are to learn to put on love for every human being, we first have to break down the walls that we have constructed.  It is much more challenging to break down something we have built ourselves, rather than break down the structure of someone else.  Nevertheless, if we are ever going to learn what it means to put on love, we have to destroy our self built walls.  This means that yes, we may get taken advantage of, we may get stomped on, we may again be beaten down or disappointed, but if we have put on true love, it won’t affect us as it did before.  Our fulfillment is in the fact that we are carrying through with the commands of Jesus, the savior of this world.  He is our comfort, our guide and our friend.

Give and Experience Freedom!

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Our chains are our earthly belongings, things, “our stuff.”  They keep us prisoner if we allow them to.  The only way to break these chains, is to let them go and give them away.  Many choose the chains, and believe that these chains actually supply their freedom.  They are prisoners without even realizing it.  They appear to have it all together, but in reality as the Spirit said to the churches:

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked ~ Revelations 3:17  

If we want to experience true freedom we must let go and give those things away that we once cherished.  Our stress and cares become a thing of the past when we start to give freely of what we have to those in need.  When making the leap to give freely, one is no longer putting faith in themselves to provide- rather one places all of their faith in the Creator to supply their needs.  This is an awesome existence where one can truly experience freedom.  This brings about a complete change in value system- and 99.9% of the inhabitants of this world will not understand.  What they will do is look at you in amazement as if you were a freak of nature.  You will be a spectacle that many will be puzzled by, but they will notice a clear difference between you and them.  This is the testimony of Jesus, living in the world today in those that truly have heard His message.  This is the light that doesn’t hide itself.  This is the salt that seasons the earth with full flavor.  These are those that store up for themselves treasures in heaven, rather than laying up for themselves treasures in the earth.  This “new creature/new creation” experiences a freedom that is only found in dreams, yet for them it is a reality.  Break the chains that have been binding you for so many years, and give them away, link by link to attain this freedom.

Realize

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Realize that to live in this freedom, you may not have a 401K, you may not have a beautiful home, brand new cars, top brand clothing, and the image of today’s “success.”  Your life will directly contradict the thinking of most of humanity.  You may live a humble lifestyle, but you will never be in need.  All needs will be supplied.  Realize that you must still work to support the needs of others, in whatever capacity you are capable of.  Realize that you will be tested, to see if you are truly reliant on the Creator to provide for your needs.  Realize that your heart will grow beyond any size you could have ever imagined, when you freely give and care for the needs of others WITHOUT RESPECT OF PERSONS.  One is no better or worse than another.  Realize that you will be given a new and renewed mind, and you will become a new creature when you embark on this journey.  Realize that others will look to you even in your humble state for strength, courage, confidence and guidance.  Realize that over time you will become more and more actively compassionate for every human being, that you will no longer judge, but your duty becomes healing and care.  Realize that this journey will have ups and downs, blessings and trials, but in all things your needs will be provided and your faith will be built up.  Realize that you will one day live forever, if you are faithful to obey these commands of Jesus.

Let go, put on love, give and experience freedom and realize what this means for you in the long term.  There are many different beliefs out there, many denominations of Christianity, and divisions in understanding and knowledge.  The one universal language that every human being speaks, is love and compassion.  It can be understood in every corner of the globe.  One more thing- as Yeshua/Jesus also instructed, do your good deeds in secret so that you will have your reward in heaven.  Don’t do your deeds seeking publicity and the praise of men:

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” ~ Matthew 6:1-4

We encourage you to put on a new life in Christ with love, and with joy- cast away your oppressing and heavy chains today!

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