Howdy Neighbour


Join Our Pastor Ray in his sharing .

Howdy Neighbour

Jesus told us the two most import commandments are: “…YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ and then He said, the second most important one is, `YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ He continued…”There is no other commandment greater than these.” . No command greater than these – said Jesus!

We shared in previous sessions the difference between God’s Love and Human Love. In essence we said that our human love is ‘self-centred’ and Gods Love is ‘selfless’. We said that the two kinds of love cannot mix, and that as humans, operating out of our old sinful natures, we are not capable of loving someone as God would love us.

The answer to this challenge is that our old sinful nature needs to die – as Paul shared in Romans – and then we need to start the process of living out of our new resurrected life, which displays Gods love. We need to remember that this renewal is a daily process, as our thinking becomes renewed by the power of God’s word, revealed to us through the power of His Spirit.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke, the lawyer asked Jesus a question that I have heard many times in my own life: “And who is my neighbour?”

Just prior to that question, the scripture says – “But wishing to justify himself”. So the lawyer actually asked the question in an effort to justify his own actions towards others. Are we like the lawyer, asking the Lord questions wishing to justify our actions? 

How many times have we asked the Lord, “Who is my neighbour?” and how many times have we heard this question being asked in our country currently?

I had a closer look at the parable to find my answer. However, to make the parable more meaningful to present time in this country, I replaced some characters:

So starting at Luke 10:30-37

Luk 10:30  Jesus replied and said, “A European man was going down from Johannesburg to Durban, and fell among hijackers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.

Luk 10:31  “And by chance an Ndebele pastor was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

Luk 10:32  “Likewise a Sotho person also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

Luk 10:33  “But a Zulu man, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,

Luk 10:34  and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him into his own pickup, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

Luk 10:35  “On the next day he took out two Rands and gave them to the innkeeper and said, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’

Luk 10:36  “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hijackers’ hands?”

Luk 10:37  And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

The key to the parable lies in verses 36 and 37. In verse 36, Jesus asked the lawyer, “…who proved to be a neighbour to the victim?” The lawyer replied, “The one who showed mercy toward him… “

In our South African version of the parable, it was the Zulu man who showed mercy – the Zulu man was being a neighbour to the victim. When we show mercy to anyone, we become a neighbour to them. – it’s not about WHO is MY neighbour – as much as it is about BEING a neighbour to others. I really pray the Lord will show us this truth.

Jesus said “love your neighbour as yourself…” We find it relatively easy to show mercy towards ourselves, but what about those around us. Do we show the same mercy to others as we show ourselves?

In the Lord’s eyes, and through HIS nature, showing mercy to others is unconditional – irrespective of who the person is. Showing mercy from the human perspective (in other words from our old sinful nature) is conditional. In other words, I will have mercy if the person is of a certain culture…or…I’ll show mercy if the person is the same religion as me….or… I’ll have mercy if I perceive them to be a ‘good person’. The character of God shows mercy irrespective…anywhere, anytime, any person.

When next it comes time for us to have mercy on others, lets first think how much mercy we would have for ourselves in that situation, and then apply that same mercy to others, irrespective of who they are.

So…. Let’s spend less time worrying and arguing about WHO our neighbour is and more time focussing on BEING a good neighbour.

Thank you for sharing this time with me – may the Master share much of His heart with you this coming week. Until next time…bless you all.

From: “…time with the Master…”

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Jesus chases the money lenders out the Temple.

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Mission Malawi – Chapter Ten


Field Trip – Continued:

Tuesday, 15th November.

We were shown to continue our trip the next morning and as we were preparing to leave, one of the committee members at the church came to greet us. She made a presentation of K50.00 to us on behalf of the church. 

 Deeply touched, we gratefully received the gift. To us, the amount of money held no importance because we knew that God had a purpose for that money. What was wonderful was that the people had given freely to complete strangers and we know that God will bless them for that step of faith .

 As we began to walk out of the town we saw the house of a Pastor whom we had met the night before. We felt that he had so warmly welcomed us, that it would be very bad of us not to bid him farewell. During the course of sharing with him, he blessed us with K20.00, and on the way out his wife gave us another K5.00 to buy bananas. God is truly wonderful, and even plans our menus for us if we listen carefully!

 We received a lift to a small place called Nkhamenya, where the driver insisted we pay him K20.00. This we did and were soon picked up again by a very large transporter truck. This truck was on the way to Tanzania and the driver told us that we were very “lucky” because he never stops for people.

 We explained to the Tanzanian driver in our best Swahili (which is nonexistent, but sign language for ‘God’ is universal!), that it was the Lord who had touched his heart to stop for us. We shared in this manner for a while and after giving us a ‘coke’ to drink they stopped the truck on top of the Vipya Plateau to share their lunch with us.  Lunch was prepared and served underneath the large trailer of the truck as we sat on the tarmac. Looking out over the baking African valley below, God’s awesome power was very evident.  As mere humans, we are absolutely nothing compared to His great and mighty power, yet His love for us is so great. How were we to know that we would be having lunch under such circumstances.

 The driver dropped us off in Mzuzu without charging us any money. This is a miracle, because in Malawi many white tourists hitchhike throughout the country and because the country is poor, drivers of vehicles, private or company owned, are looking for an extra means of income. Especially where a white person is concerned because they are perceived as being “rich”.

 Consequently, those who saw us together presumed that I was a wealthy tourist with my personal guide! Nevertheless, God knew the truth and watched lovingly over us day and night. That night we were welcomed at the house of another Reverend. His family cared for us, fulfilling our needs so that we were able to continue our trip refreshed early the next day.

Wednesday, 16th November.

Our first stop the next morning was the post office. It was my son’s birthday in four days’ time and I was sad at the thought of not being with him. Titus and I had prayed the day we started the journey that God might give us funds to buy an envelope and stamp so that we could send my son a note of encouragement. God understands our family relationships. He saw my love for my son, and being a Father Himself, had blessed us with the money the day before so that I could send a little letter to him. After posting the letter we waited for the next part of our journey.

 A hardware company truck gave us a lift to Rhumpie, a small town under the Nyika Plateau. As we descended the weather became very hot. We had no shade in the back of the truck. The truck stopped in the middle of the dusty little town, and we duly paid another K20.00 for transport. It was midday.

 On our way in we noticed a small church and decided to see if we could find anyone home. The Pastors wife greeted us and sent for her husband. After drinking many glasses of water and explaining ourselves, the Pastor literally ran out to go and call the members of the community together. He insisted that I rest on a canvas deck chair in the shade of the church building. He said, “I know mzungus (white people) like to rest after lunch”. I did not have much trouble obeying him, after all, he was an elder of the local church and I as a visitor, must fall under his authority!

 Most of the rural Malawians are a bit apprehensive about hosting white people because of language and cultural problems. God had taught me through Titus and other precious Malawian brothers and sisters, how to adapt to many of the customs and foods. As I conformed, the people were made to feel more at ease with me and again there was testimony in our words by God’s grace alone.

 I really began to understand that the “authority” which has been given to us through Christ Jesus is not some ‘mystical’ power, but is in fact, the lifestyle we lead. It was said of Jesus, “…He was teaching them as one having authority…”. Demons were afraid of Jesus because they knew He was ‘dead’ to the things of the ‘flesh’ and He would not give in to their temptations.  We too, as we begin to live a laid down life, (dying to the things of a ‘selfish life’), will show the authority of Christ through us. That is why it was important that God’s son was in every way a man, so that we might have an example to follow.

 A group of ladies gathered and we were able to share some precious things concerning their marriages and their roles as wives. All were extremely blessed and stayed for over two hours in the heat. As we started to finish, the men began arriving after work, so the ministry continued until evening. They were all amazed to see that I would actually bath in their traditional way and enjoy the food. The heat remained until about 9:30pm when we finally finished ministering, exhausted, but mightily blessed.

This is a series from the journal of young missionaries and written by ‘…time with the Master…’ A portion of the journal is published bi- monthly. Why not take up the journey from Chapter One.

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

 

 

Mission Malawi – Chapter Five


Publisher’s Note:

I was unable to download original pictures from the Malawi collection, for technical reasons and hope to have this sorted by the next issue. Thank you for bearing with us in this challenge.

Continue reading “Mission Malawi – Chapter Five”