These are some excerpts from a book review prepared by one of our Fanning the Flame Team Members, Ted, and presented at our last monthly meeting.
The phrase “ministry of mercy” comes from Luke 10:37 where Jesus commands us to “go and do likewise.” Timothy Keller asks in his book, “Are we as Christians obeying this command personally? Are we, as a church, obeying this command corporately?”
For decades we are told that evangelicals have avoided the radical nature of the parable of the Good Samaritan. At most we have heard it telling us to prepare a fruit basket for the needy each Christmas or to give to relief agencies when there is a famine or earthquake in a distant nation.
It is time to listen more closely. We are finally beginning to wonder why there are suddenly hundreds of thousands “stripped and lying half dead” in the streets of our own cities. There are problems in the world that bring misery and violence into the lives of most of humanity. These include war, injustice, oppression, famine, natural disasters, disease, mental illness, physical disabilities, racism, crime, scarcity of resources and class struggle. We need to see that we are all living on the Jericho Road.
Under the principles of mercy, there is a call to mercy. Love is essential in the call. We are required to love God above all things and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Mercy is not optional. Although believers are to give their first and greatest aid to the needy within the church, mercy must also be show to all people. Most of us have not come to grips with the clear directive that all Christians must have their own ministry of mercy.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.” Galatians 6:10
A question to ponder (from me, not Ted): What is your ministry of mercy?