For many years, we have been LEAVING the city, instead of LOVING the city. As we think of reaching the millions that reside there, here are three principles to consider.
1. Sinful lifestyle doesn’t determine love demonstration. Jerusalem had a history of being a “city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers!”, and that refused to be corrected (“you wouldn’t let me.”). Yet, Jesus loved it, ministered to it, preached in it and sought to transform it, anyway! What specific instruction did Jesus give us concerning people that are in opposition to our values, principles and lifestyle? Mathew 5:44-45
2. Instead of leaving, love. When Jesus saw the need, he went towards, not away from Jerusalem. He knew very well that his treatment there would not be pleasant, but his heart longed to save them. That strategy has not changed. When the Twin Towers where attacked on September 11th, firefighters and other personnel ran towards the building, when many where running out. The reason? People needed rescue. That’s the reason we exist also. Don’t leave, avoid, condemn. Try love instead. In what ways have we “left”? Why is it important we connect again with people in the cities?
3. Love is more than a feeling for the city, it’s action in the city. Jesus cried for the city, and had compassion for the people living there. That was wonderful, but not enough. He took those feelings and put them in action, as he healed, preached, helped. The purpose of these lessons is to spur you and your congregation to action. What is one thing you can do this week to engage your community? Share some practical ideas to demonstrate God’s love in practical ways.
God bless you as you love your city.