This week I’ve been at Abilene Christian University for their annual Summit/Lectureship. The theme this year was taken from the gospel of Luke, and has focused on the call of Jesus for us to minister to those we might consider to be on the “margins” in this world. Our Lord certainly reached out and attracted more of the “marginalized” of His day than He did those in positions of power and wealth.
It seems Jesus’ message got through to at least one who had a hard time coming to faith: Jesus’ half-brother James.
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. (James 2:1-9)
One of the speakers this week centered his sessions on the two books in our New Testament written by Luke, the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. Along with one or two other speakers, he called on us to read Luke and Acts together, voicing his belief that that’s what Luke intended.
He said, “The story of Jesus continues in the story of the church.”
Sometime soon, read through Luke and Acts together. It may take you a week or two, or a month or two, but read them with these questions in mind:
- What is important in the work of Jesus according to Luke?
- What is important in the work of the first century church according to Acts?
- What is important in my life, and how does it compare to Jesus in Luke, and the church in Acts?
- Am I loving my neighbor as myself, the way Jesus did—the way he called us to do?
- Are we loving our neighbor the way the church was called to—is called to do?