Many of you have probably already figured this out by now but I am really passionate about justice. I mean really! I desire to see communities torn apart by war and famine brought together whole and healed. I desire to see women who have been abused by lovers, fathers, and stranger not only set free but forgiving those who once hurt them. I desire to see minorities who have been criticized because of the color of their skin brought to the table and allowed to receive a solid education, a dignified career, and be able to provide for their families. I desire to see an overall end to violence from not only perpetrators of hate but also those who have been perpetrated against. For these things I will sweat, bleed and labor. For these things I will give my time and my talent to.
I am motivated to fight for justice and reconciliation not only because of the injustices I see, although I must admit that it is a strong motivator. However, I am mostly moved in this regard because of my faith. Throughout the scripture I see a Holy God calling His people to ‘do justice and love mercy.’ He invites us to proclaim freedom for those who are in captivity, relief to the poor and hope for those who are grieving going as far as to say that when do not do these things it is as if we were doing it to Christ Himself. Such behavior is so important that Christ even said that unbelievers would come to know Him as a result of how we responded to them in love. What better way to love someone who is poor and hungry than to clothe and feed them!
Yet from time to time, God has to challenge me. He does not have to challenge me so much in this work for justice but in my relationship with Him. I find it very easy to get so caught up in ‘fighting the good fight of faith’ so to speak and laboring for the kingdom of God, that sometimes I fail to further cultivate my relationship with the Lord. I can spend hours and hours writing, reading, and advocating for the things that I am most passionate about but when it comes to surrendering my heart and bowing my knees I only have a few moments.
Jesus said in John 15 that we are to abide in him, or remain connected to him. ‘I am the vine; you are the branches‘ He says in verse 5, meaning that He is the one breathing life into everything we do. He is the life source, the one who sustains us. Like a branch on a tree, if we are cut off from Him, we cannot do anything. Not only am I humbled in reflecting on this, but I feel my heart drawing closer to Christ. I find myself recalibrating, not so that I can invite God into what I am doing for Him, but so that I can align myself with what He is already doing, with or without me. For me, it is important to realize that God first and foremost calls me into an intimate relationship with Himself. It is out of that relationship, that everything else, including my passion for justice flows.
I cannot do anything for God without remaining connected to God. If I ever hope to speak wholeness and healing to a world torn apart by injustice, I must remain in God. I must take time to hear from the heart of God concerning these things. I must take time to just sit at His feet as did Mary and stop being so much like Martha, who was so focused on getting things accomplished that she neglected connecting with Jesus, the reason for her being busy in the first place (see Luke 10).
I know that I am really reflecting on my own shortcomings here, but I also know that I am not the only one who has to consistently be reminded about this. It does not matter what our passions and ministries are, it does not matter what we feel ‘called’ to. Our ministries and our calling can never take the place of our connecting with the Lord. We can never preach enough sermons, visit enough sick people, read enough about theology or feed enough hungry people to ever take the place of our connecting with the Lord. So…are you connected?