by Ed Price
"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
" (1 John 2:3-4)
Doubtless, there were freeloaders in John's day who called themselves Christians. They followed Jesus half-heartedly -- if at all -- and were less than slack in following His commandments. There were certain "advantages", of course. The early Christians were communal and shared nearly everything they had between them -- especially food and shelter. The interloper was generally assured of a free meal and a bed if he presented himself to the local Christian community as one of their own. Today hard-core vagabonds, lazy and jobless -- sometimes dangerous -- travel from place to place, appearing at local rescue missions at night, with sad eyes and crocodile smiles, begging for a free meal and a bunk. They are seldom refused.
Jesus taught us to help the needy (Matthew 19:21). God rewards those who help others in His blessed Son's Name. (Mark 9:41) Even the worst scalawag, is deserving of help. All are precious children of God and must receive kindness -- most of all, they must be told the Good News so they, too, might repent their sins, accept Christ and be saved. But Christian charity will not last forever. For those who close their ears and continue to receive help under false pretenses, another kind of "reward" awaits -- a fiery lake at the end of the road. (Revelations 20:15)
Precious Lord, from Whom all things are begotten, we praise Your Holy Name for the many blessings you have showered upon us. Grant that we may always share them without prejudice with others who come to us for help. Let us witness to these people, Lord, so they may repent of their sins and come to your blessed Son, Jesus, for salvation and eternal life. We ask this in Christ's Name and for His sake, Amen!
© 2002 Ed Price. From 'The Loving Heart' (http://www.thelovingheart.net)
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