Luke Harris, pastor, Crossroads Community Church
I fell for it - hook, line, and sinker. I have never really had much respect for Donald Trump. I have always considered him an opportunist who lies in wait for the next chance to self-promote and boost his own ego. A classic narcissist. Yet, when Mr. Trump announced earlier this week that he would make an announcement that would change everything I resisted at first. Then, curiosity got the better of me and I tuned in to watch his “earth-shattering” revelation. Like many others I’m sure, I watched the shenanigans unfold. Mr. Trump made a seemingly simple gesture. He offered 5 million dollars to go to the charity of President Obama’s choice if the President would release his college and passport records. I will admit, I too get frustrated with the lack of transparency shown by many politicians, but when did it become okay to dangle help for those in need, like a proverbial carrot? My initial reaction was to laugh, wondering why I had tuned in to watch this obvious self-promotion tactic. Then my laughter turned to frustration as I found myself asking - if you have 5 million dollars to help those in need, why conditionally give it to them? If Mr. Obama doesn’t comply will you withhold your money? Do we really view those in need as something of a bartering chip? Laughter turned to frustration which gave way to indignation which led me to Scripture.
Matthew chapter 25 verses 31-46 are some eye-opening verses for us to consider when we play fast and loose with our help - financial, physical, or otherwise. To paraphrase what is going on in this passage, there comes a point of judgment when God puts people into two categories - those on the left and those on the right. Once he has these two groups divided he tells those on the right that they may come and inherit the kingdom because their lives had reflected the love that springs from a true faith in Jesus Christ. When people were hungry, they fed them, when they were thirsty, they gave them drink, when they were strangers, they invited them in, when they were naked, they clothed them, when they were sick, they visited them, and when they were imprisoned, they came to them. These “people of love and caring compassion” didn’t realize they had done these things. They simply let their lives be fueled by the love produced by their faith in Christ. It was a natural outpouring of that faith. The other group, the ones on the left were just the opposite. They were told by God to depart for their lack of action which was reflective of their lack of faith that ultimately produced in them a contemptuous attitude. God informed them they never offered help. Their response was aghast. Surely, they had offered their money and gave of their charity!
They were simply wrong. A heart that feels like it is going out of its way to bless someone is usually a heart motivated by self-interest, self-promotion, and self-love. A heart that simply loves doesn’t realize how much of a blessing it truly is. The difference is in following ourselves or following Christ. So when Mr. Trump promotes his actions as generous all I see is someone with 5 million dollars available to help but won’t until he knows you know that he is blessing you - wrong motivation. There are scores of people who pour themselves into helping others because they just want to love them, because they realize that God loves them and sacrificed His Son for them. So what’s our motivation? What’s your motivation? Is it love from a pure heart or is it self-promotion? I for one do not want to stand before the true God and hear what idiomatically relates to a phrase that Mr. Trump is so fond of - “You’re Fired!” Instead I want to hear “Well done” because my faith produced a love from a pure heart.
Luke Harris is the pastor of Crossroads Community Church currently meeting in the cafeteria of Grand Avenue School located at 1415 Grand Avenue. We would love to have you join us this Sunday morning for Sunday School at 9:45 AM and Worship at 10:45 AM. Check out past sermons on the web at www.chickashacrossroads.com, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.