Teaching Them to Observe
The first three commissions of Jesus to the church were given during His walk in the flesh that He received from Mary, His mother. The next three were given while He was in His resurrection body. Two of these, which we find at the close of the Gospel of St. Matthew are called the Great Commission.
When Jesus appeared to His disciples in Galilee, at the mountain to which He had directed them, He said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." Mt 28:18ff
In the great commission there are two different commissions and one promise. The first commission has to do with the building of community, and the second deals with the thinking of the individuals within the community. The promise with which the Gospel closes holds the key to the ability to perform the work that we are sent to do. We are able to do the work in His presence, by His authority, in His power. We are not like a child going to the store with a shopping list. We are going to the store with our hand in our Father's hand.
The first three commissions had to do with the healing of the individual persons to whom we are sent. We are to enable them to enter into a new relationship with God as Father. We are to enable them to connect with Holy Spirit who is able to clean up their inner life. We are to enable them to find such a measure of physical health as will allow them to walk in God's plan for them in this world. "For we are his workmanship, created by God in Jesus Christ for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Eph 2:10 In short we are to see that they are equipped for life and ministry in the Kingdom of God.
For the sake of continuing the process of healing the person before we go on to consider the healing of a corporate community as the context for our lives, we will consider the teaching, or the healing of the mind before we continue with the making of disciples.
With the commission to teach, we are to enable people to think with God and not the world. We are to enable them to find a mind set that will turn them to a conversation with God, rather than continuing their dialog with the snake. The Temptations of Jesus were not to do something evil. They were to do something good using the world's wisdom rather than God's. We are to teach people how to think from the viewpoint which seeks God's will in all things rather than trying to get God to do things our way.
As we enter this life, we are self-centered. We evaluate the world in terms of our own will for the environment. We seek to build the kingdom of self. Our thinking is confined to life within our own control. We are the center of our own universe. While that might sound a little harsh when we consider the innocence of little babies, it is the only way they will survive to become God-centered.
People who were reared in my generation were taught to set their own goals. One of the clichés that I recall was, "Shoot at the moon, even if you hit a cabbage." We were told further that if we worked hard, we could attain our goals. It took sacrifice and hard work, but goals were attainable. "I am the captain of my soul; I am the master of my fate." was the prevailing mind set. (I later thought it quite significant that the author of those lines died by his own hand in prison.)
The present generation seems to have been reared with the idea that their goals are their rights, and therefore they should not have to work at all. The anthropocentric studies of human nature have not done a great deal to help us handle life without drugs. Neither the old nor the new is of the mind of Christ. Both begin and end by evaluating life in terms of the goals we set for ourselves rather than the goals which have been set by the Lord.
When we begin to develop our own interior world through our experiences and reflection on them, our actions and our reactions to the world in which we live, we will develop prejudices. We need prejudices to live in the world. We need to have images of what we perceive reality and value to be. It is our prejudices which enable us to make decisions that have to be made. It is a prejudice, and often a well founded one, that when I step on ice, I have to watch my step or risk falling.
All prejudices are not bad. The word has come to mean an evil misconception that causes me to persecute others who are different from me; but there is a need to see that preconceptions of any sort are pre-judgments. They are prejudices that are a part of the fabric of our soul and its conditioning to live in this world. By the same token, prejudices are not to abide unchanged in us for ever. They are necessities that must change as we see their inadequacy and error. As we are brought into the light of Christ, our prejudices and perceptions begin to come into line with His revelation of Truth.
Since we have a capacity to know good and evil, we tend to apply our own perceptions or prejudices of good and evil as absolutes. If anyone disagrees with me over what is good and what is evil, there must be something wrong with him. When my boys were growing up, I was convinced that the first words spoken by children coming into this world were, "That's not fair!" When children grow up, they translate their prejudices into words such as racist and sexist. The root is the same. I begin with my, own ideas of right and wrong, and I wind up sitting on God's seat making His judgments for Him. That is the burden of knowing there is a good and evil without knowing the author of good and evil. We must either abandon our claim to the knowledge, or seek God's revelation to define good and evil in each situation in which we find ourselves.
It is difficult to look at ourselves and determine that we have used our own prejudices as God's judgment. We would avow that our judgments are true to what God would say, if He were standing where we are. Since He cannot be seen, we seek to furnish the authority in judgment.. It is almost as if we have come from the Garden with a residual memory of justice that haunts us as a dream that will not come into full focus. Everyone speaks of justice, but no one has really defined it in concrete terms that find full agreement from others in the world. There is always someone with a different perception, and hence a different reality.
I received a letter from an atheist friend of mine. He said, "I cannot accept the reward/punishment scenario for God, if he exists; and if he is like most of the people around here say he is, I don't care to know him." It has been said, God created man in His own image, and man promptly retaliated by creating God in his." We tend to attribute to God the characteristics He would have if we created Him. We tend to see God in terms of our own perceptions rather than His revelation.
One of the great intrusions into Christian theology over the past few generations issued from the determination by the Biblical Critical Schools that we could not really know the Historical Jesus. What we read in Scripture is not simply the record of the life of the historical Jesus. They are recorded by the community of faith, and they become the Christ of faith.
When we fail to see that He is the same yesterday, and today and forever, we have a tendency to do as one of the people at a conference I once attended. She said, "We don't worship the crucified Jesus any more. We worship the risen and glorified Christ." It occurred to me at the time, that the moment we separate the Christ from Jesus, we may make Him anything we desire Him to be - even a Marxist revolutionary. It also occurred to me that in that group there was little concern over the statement that was made. If the Jews could redefine Jesus' role to agree with their traditions, He would have been their Messiah. Whether or not Jesus is man's Christ, He is God's Christ.
Jesus was not crucified because He was leading demonstrations against the religious establishment or the government. He was crucified because His very presence challenged the basic fabric of the institutions of His day. When He called people to seek first the Kingdom, He called them to set aside the traditions they worshipped and allow God to come into the present situation with His redemptive love and power. He sought to bring true freedom within the life of each person, rather than the myth of a kingdom that the people had enthroned in their own imaginations.
Jesus still comes today to challenge the basic fabric of the institutions of this day. His revolution is not one that assaults the world. It is one that implants a new leaven into the lump. He does not come to adjure us to listen to the best of man's aspirations. He calls us to radical obedience to Abba. He does not call us to measure the revelation of God by man's wisdom; He calls us to measure the wisdom of man by God's revelation. It is Jesus, Himself, in whom we see that wisdom unfolded for our lives. Jesus is God's anointed sent to reveal the very heart of God Himself.
LAW OR GRACE
Humans were not able to keep the Law, even when they were so inclined. Paul makes it clear that God did not intend for them to keep the Law. "For God consigned all men to disobedience, that He might have mercy upon all." Rm 11:32 Under the Law, we were brought up against a judgment of "guilty as charged." If we are to follow human wisdom, we would have to say that it not fair to put people in a situation where they cannot do something, and then demand that they do it. As we consider that scenario the Law should be changed or eliminated. The Law is beyond our human attainment, but not a jot or tittle is to be changed.
Jesus did not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it. It was not a matter of defining it so much as living it out. We see in His reply to the lawyer who asked Him which commandment is the greatest, a positive statement. He shunned the "Thou shalt nots" for the "Thou shalt loves." The subsequent teaching recorded in John in chapters 13 - 17 tell us the "how" of the matter. Holy Spirit is the enabling factor that spans the great gap between our ability and God's will for us.
The other aspect that Jesus made amply clear in His teaching was that we are to abide in communication with Abba, by Holy Spirit, through Jesus. If we are to follow Christ, we must realize that He was in continuous communion with Abba. Jesus repeatedly said the words that He spoke were not His, the things that He did were what He saw His Father doing. Our mind is to be set on Abba in which we also seek to grow into that relationship that Jesus revealed. We are to think as children growing up into obedience in the presence of Abba, our Father, who is the author of the universe.
That is a radical shift from the teaching that says, "You know right and wrong, go do right." Until we are related to Jesus, we know only our perceptions of right and wrong. Until we are enabled by Holy Spirit, we cannot do "right" even if we have an idea of what it is. That is the meaning of Jesus' statement in Luke 24:49, "Behold I send the promise of the Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high."
The common understanding of the Cross is that we were guilty, and Jesus was punished for our guilt, because Father had to punish someone to make sure His justice was kept in tact. In reality the Cross is a gate that stands between hell and the Kingdom of God. The gates of hell cannot prevail against the church; and the keys to the Kingdom have been given to us that we might be loosed on earth and be loosed in heaven. The Cross is the first crack in the fabric of the Old Creation which is passing away; and it yields the first fruits of God's new creation. The meaning of the cross may be seen most clearly in Matthew's Gospel, when he says, "The veil in the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom." Mt 27:51
The Holy of Holies was revealed in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We can know God. We are no longer dependent on interpreting the Law or some sacrificial system that will put us in touch with God through priest or prophet. We have access to the presence of Abba through Jesus Christ. The Law and the entire system of sacrifice was fulfilled on the Cross. It was a one time only event that spans all of time. It is not our escape from death, but our ticket through death, out of hell into the Kingdom of God.
We cannot keep our life without losing it. It is only as we lose it for Jesus and the Gospel that we can keep it eternally. The Cross is not an act of indulgence on God's part; it is an extremely costly act of creation whereby He intends to make all things new. As in the beginning all things were made through the Word that was spoken, even so the New Creation dawns with the resurrection of that same Word in human flesh.
To teach others to observe all things that Jesus taught, is to teach them to know God. They are to bring all of their prejudices whereby they have organized their lives as their own kingdoms, into His light for examination. It is in this light that we can begin to see ourselves as children of one who is far wiser than we, to whom we have access, and from whom we receive eternal life. "This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness more than the light, because their deeds were evil." Jn 3:19 We begin to enter that life as we are willing to give our temporal lives to Him. We collect our wages for our sin, which is death. If we choose to proceed to the next window, we can receive the gift that He has for us, which is eternal life in Jesus Christ. We do not avoid death, we are crucified with Christ and raised up with Him in a life like His.
We are to see and know the source of initiative as God. All things come from Him and all things are given meaning by Him. We are not our own. We cannot find our direction from the world any more than the clay can direct the potter. We must learn to think in terms of communion with God as we grow in that intimacy that we see revealed as the relationship between Jesus and Abba.
It is as we are willing to bring our minds to Him that He might think with them, that we are healed in mind, and find that we are growing into the mind of Christ. We are not yet perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect; but we can begin to see that admonition of Jesus, more clearly as a promise than a demand. If we can see that the people of God are not all that mature, we might be able to live with one another without the competitive urge to be right rather than loving.
I recall one of the parishes I served that started out as a traditional Anglo-Catholic parish. Some of the people became involved with the charismatic movement, and a division arose in the community. The Anglo-Catholics would come to me and say, "Father, Durrance, these charismatics are horrible. They treat us as if we are second class Christians."
To which I would respond, "They don't mean to insult you. You just have to realize that they are not yet mature."
Their reaction was one of , "Oh! I never thought about that. That helps."
The charismatics would come to me and say, "Father Al, these Anglo-Catholics are horrible. They treat us as if we are second class Christians."
To which I would respond, "They don't mean to insult you. You just have to realize that they are not yet mature."
Their reaction was one of, "Oh! I never thought about that. That helps."
The out growth of using the image of the children of God rather than the wizards of God, enabled them to accept one another, rather than condemn one another for not being all that each thought the other should be. How much easier it would be if the entire church could see each other as children who often try to play the role of their Father rather than their role as His children.
One of the great maladies of the church today is the contention between the leaders that they are right. There is an arrogance that talks down to the people who are not in agreement with them. There is an air of exclusion of those who do not think as they think. There is an appeal to nearly every authority of which I have heard both in the world and in the church except a common confession of our sin and inadequacy, and our repentance to ask God to speak to us that we might hear and obey Him.
There is such an antithesis to healing in our contention that we are right, and others who do not agree, are in some measure of error. It is reminiscent of my boys growing up. When one of them thought he saw the reality of mature life, he would try to lord it over the others. Jesus taught that we would not do that. We would instead seek to enable the weaker brother or sister to find strength, not by trying harder to "do it himself," but through the grace that God gives to those who ask Him.
So far as I know there is no substitute for reading the Scriptures, or listening to them read by another person, or even a tape recorder, so we might soak our inner life in that revelation the church has selected as a measure for all truth. That does not mean that we will learn all we need to learn that way. It is the ingestion of the material from which the understanding of the revelation will issue.
It is an assembling of the building blocks of the Temple of God so that He might come and create us as a temple in which He will live. "Know ye not ye are the temple of the Holy Ghost," is not just a neat chorus to sing in Sunday School. It is a truth that we find basic to our learning what Jesus taught us about who God is, and who we are in relationship to Him.
The general response to this commission is set up a Sunday school, and study groups to teach the children, or the adults, what we believe is good. Depending on our own personal views, we may teach Bible stories, or we may teach relationship techniques. Church school curricula are selected to train a child in the way we would have them think, and behave morally.
One of the things that must always be included in a Christian environment of teaching and learning is the necessity of evaluating our lives in terms of God, and not simply Christian principles. We are not called simply to a behavioral code or an intellectual grasp of revelation. We are called to know God. Our behavior and thought is to grow out of that reality.
We are to teach that our faith is our trust in God as He has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, and our religion is the life we live out in the growing intimacy that we are to develop with Him. While that intimacy cannot be taught, the reality of that possibility must be taught. When a study group meets, there should always be opportunity for those who participate in the group, whether child or adult, to witness to that personal relationship that has grown out of what they have been taught
It is our corporate sharing of what we know of the God we are studying about. It is much the same as children talking about their parents. Some things they have learned through observation and lecture; but there is much more of importance that may only be learned by experience. If we are to teach them, we must teach them of this area of learning that goes beyond the lecture or the reading. There is something that goes beyond the objective ideas that issues from the intimacy of relationship with the one we seek to know.
There is nothing wrong with the effort to teach the Bible stories and their meaning. We certainly have to learn the content of the revelation, if we are going to know the One who is revealed through the revelation. There is nothing wrong with the sharing of insights into the stories that we may have learned through our own study. We must hold fast the realization that education is never a substitute for revelation, which we normally receive through prayer in our relationship to God. We must teach God's children to pray. Prayer is not a normal activity for humans until they have met and come to know God in some way.
We are not simply to teach them "how" to pray. We are to teach them "to pray." We do not know how to talk when someone has told us how. We learn to talk by talking. We learn to walk by walking. We learn to pray by praying. It would seem that things that are essential to our lives, we learn not only by being taught, but by doing. Indeed, we learn to love by loving.
There are many who have gone through the Sunday school and have come out with the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." I recall a Life Magazine publication that compared all of the world's religions, claiming that they all taught the same thing, and using the Golden Rule as a norm. While that may be a good rule of thumb for religions in which man is seeking God; it is not what Jesus had in mind. He would say something like, "Do unto others as Abba would have you do unto others."
Actually it comes out in terms of the primary statement of Jesus, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God" When we come to those places where we are in doubt about what we are to do, we are to ask Abba. That is what Jesus taught us, both in terms of the recorded teaching, and in terms of His own behavior. "The words that I speak are not my words, but the words of Him who sent Me." "I come not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me." When He was between acts, He would retire to a place of solitude to spend time with Abba.
Out there on the bumper of some automobile, is a sticker that says "The first lesson is, 'God comes first.' The second lesson is remember the first lesson." When we begin to think with the presence of God as a primary part of the input, our minds work differently.
REVELATION OR INCLINATION?
In my area of the church we are bent on making surveys. We are trying to find out how to meet the needs of people. We are trying to find out how to please people who support the church. We are trying to secure our foundation for the church's continued existence. We are striving diligently to become relevant to the world. The truth is that when we use the world's views as a substitute for God's revelation, we are becoming irrelevant to the world. The only way we can be relevant is to be the Body in whom Christ lives, and through which He does the works that He has done yesterday, is doing today, and will do forever.
I have done a number of Vestry retreats. They are designed to help leadership focus on God's will for their congregation. I will ask each of the people who is to be involved to write down what they would like to see happen in their congregation. That is a question that I have gleaned from any number of surveys and seminars on how to run a parish. I usually get the run of the mill answers that you find in any group setting of church people who sit down in small groups with newsprint.
When they have given me their statement, I wait a few days to ask them to write for me what they believe God wants for their parish. The differences give me the basis for their retreat. When we see how often we make our decisions beginning with ourselves, instead of God; we are in a position to see the difference between our own way of thinking and Jesus' way of thinking. We begin to see that we do not have what Paul would call the mind of Christ. We have instead a collection of our own prejudices.
When we read the marks of the church in Acts 2:42, we find, "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." When the people of that era made their decision to become Christians, they committed themselves to an extended period of teaching. The church has often called the content, "The Faith Once Delivered to the Saints." Jude 3 It is one of the elements of what the church has called, apostolic succession, the assurance that we are of the original crew and not out flying blind on our own.
Some of the teaching was undoubtedly a lesson in what the Scriptures of that day said. They were not in a position to say, "Here's a Bible, take it home and read it." In the first place there was no Bible. In the second place there was no printing press. Everything had to be hand written. If we are to speak of the Old Testament literature, we could say that it was already written; but the Jews had not agreed on what was of God, and what was of man.
Those who used the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament, used some books the Jews later rejected. The Eastern Orthodox Churches still use them as a portion of the Old Testament, as do the Roman Catholic translations of the Bible. The Protestant Churches separated the books out as the Apocrypha. Some of the letters that we now read in the New Testament were available in manuscript form, but the New Testament was not yet in place.
Their task was to learn what the Scriptures said, and how they related to God's action in Jesus Christ. Since there were no means of writing for the ordinary person, memorization was a common form of learning. The people carried their Bibles within their minds, and hearts.
I recall a missioner who came to our parish to speak. He asked the people to take out their Bibles, but few had brought one with them. They had expected a talk, not a Bible study. At that point the missioner got a bit huffy, and in a bit of a self righteous pique, said, "Don't you carry your Bibles with you? I ought to stop, and make you go home and get your Bibles."
People can criticize me if they like, but I do not appreciate someone else coming in and pushing the lambs in my flock around. I started to suggest that we carry the same Bible that the early Christians had. What we have heard, read, marked, and inwardly digested, we have with us. It is not the thinking of Jesus to send people home to get anything. He didn't even send them home to get food when they were in the wilderness.
Until we can carry our Scriptures around within as they did, we will not have begun to think as He thought. We will not have the mind of Christ until we can read the Scripture in such a way to allow Holy Spirit to incarnate it in our lives. Then we begin to walk as He walked and talk as He talked. It is not so much a matter of citing chapter and verse as speaking the truth in such a way that Holy Spirit might enable the hearers to hear it as truth.
When we begin to teach/study, we do so in an atmosphere of prayer. We will not know what something from Scripture means until Holy Spirit makes it alive to us. We simply have to store some of the knowledge in our memory banks, and Jesus says, Holy Spirit will call it to remembrance when He wants to speak it through us. I find that when I am speaking, I will hear Scripture come out of my mouth that I had thoroughly forgotten; but Holy Spirit can bring to remembrance any part of what we have stored. He just can't bring to remembrance that which we do not have in the memory.
When we read the Gospels, we find that Jesus does not seem to be concerned about the people who have a handle on their lives. His concern was for those who were aware of the fact that there was something wrong in their lives. He was concerned that they know that the Kingdom was at hand, and they could enter the Kingdom now. Any transgression of the Law was a symptom of being out of the Kingdom. It was not so much a call to straighten out the life as to get into a right relationship with the King. When we are in right relationship to God, to ourselves, and to our neighbors, we will be in the Kingdom, and we will keep the whole Law, which is not going to pass away. Indeed, we are told to expect it to be fulfilled.
The change we need to make in our thinking is that we don't get into the Kingdom by keeping the Law; we keep the Law by getting into the Kingdom. That requires that we be born again. If we are going to think Kingdom, we must live Kingdom. We are to live Kingdom now. We are not to put it off until we die and go into outer space where heaven is to be found on the celestial maps of many of our Christian people.
Jesus summarized the Law in the two great commandments, which are from the Old Covenant. "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might." Mark alters "might" to "mind" and adds, "with all thy strength." Mk 12:29 This is the first and great commandment. The second is , "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Mark seems to leave that one in tact. When I first heard the two great commandments, I was sure they must be something that Jesus originated, because they were so different from what I had heard when people told me about the "Thou shalt not" type Commandments, but I found to my surprise, they are from Deut 6:5 and Lev 19:18. St. Augustine would reduce them even further by saying, "Love God, and do as you please."
Augustine had the vision to see that when we begin to love God, then all that we do will please Him, and He will in turn enable us to love one another. When we are in the Kingdom, the King defines the love; and we express our love for Him through our love for one another. John would make that the measure of our love for God. "Anyone who has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his bowels from compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in Him." I Jn 3:17 "He who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" I Jn 4:20
The passage is not saying that we must love our brother in order to love God. John is saying that our love for God will be seen in all of our relationships with other people. The very cutting cliché is, "We love God to the extent that we love the person whom we love the least."
I recall one day in prayer that Abba told me that I had better get about learning how to forgive and being forgiven, because I was going to have to stand between the two people that I loved the least when I was in the Kingdom. That was a threat at first, until I realized that there is no least or most in God's love. Everyone in the Kingdom will be my beloved, just as each one is His. The end of that thinking is that we begin to live now working our way toward that relationship. We can no longer afford the luxury of self justification. We can no longer demand that others meet our criteria for morality. We can no longer occupy the position of center of the universe.
When we read the Gospels, we might be struck with the lack of reference to the soup kitchens and alms houses that Jesus founded. As He entered His ministry after His baptism, He could say the birds have nests, the foxes dens, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head. When He was confronted by hunger on two occasions, He did not go out and buy food. He took what was on hand, and fed the people but only after He had taught them. He did not labor from the standpoint of a feeding program, but from the point of view of the Kingdom of God.
He did not commission us to do the "inasmuch" ministries. He gave us the commissions we have cited above. It is at the judgment that we see the "inasmuch" ministries cited, and so we embrace them to justify ourselves before God. I believe it is significant that those who had met the criteria were totally unaware of what they had done. "When saw we....?" they asked. On the other hand, those who stood condemned were so sure that they had. "When saw we...and did not?"
It would seem that to follow the commissions to heal, we find that we do the rest of the things that Jesus asks of us. If I am involved in prayer for another to enable them to find a new life with God in Christ, I am also concerned for their well being, and I will extend myself in that area of ministry without really giving much thought to the matter. I know in the parishes I served, where healing, in terms of the commissions, was at the core of parish life, there was also a feeding program of some sort, and a clothing locker of some sort to meet the needs of people in those areas. There was a prison ministry and a hospital ministry, not because we needed to have those ministries for a full church program; but because we were led by the Lord to do them.
There is another aspect of the teaching that is often overlooked. When Jesus answered the queries of the people, He did not say, "In as much as you participated in a social program..." He said, "In as much as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren you have done it unto me," I suspect there is implied a personal relationship rather than a general welfare program. Love is not a generality; it is a particularity.
All that He taught and commissioned the disciples to go and do, He demonstrated in His own relationship to the people He met. When we begin to observe the things that He taught us, we find that we become the forerunners of the Kingdom in which we walk with Him. Our thinking begins to change from, "What can I do to meet an observable need?" We begin rather to ask. "Lord, what do you want to do through me?"
Our eyes begin to turn from the obvious needs we encounter in the world to the author of Creation who knows which needs we are intended to meet, and how we are intended to meet them. When the church turns to surveys that seek to determine what will enhance their image and attract people, they seek to determine how we can do God's work with the world's tools.
Jesus taught us both in word and deed that we are not to take our direction from the world, but from Abba. "Take my yoke upon you," is an invitation to walk and work with Him. He is the leader. When we try to walk ahead of Him, we strain at a load that will issue in rapid "burn out." and often a battering by the world. When we drag our feet, He will pull our ears off with the yoke that He insists will move ahead. It is when we are walking beside Him that we find the rest of the statement is true. "My yoke is easy and my burden is light."
I am not saying that it is not good to care for people's physical needs. I am saying that Jesus did not teach us to turn stone into bread for the hungry, because they do not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. It is certainly easier to feed people than to love them, for if we decide to love them, we must take the time to ask Abba how that love is to be expressed.
It is easier to legislate morality than it is to enable people to meet and walk with Jesus Christ, who, in turn will enable them to leave hell for the Kingdom of God. Teach them, means more than tell the story. It means live the story so they can tell what your words mean, and that through your words, they might hear the Word speak to their hearts and minds in the fullness of His love.