Occasionally thoughts go through my head and I have no idea where they came from or for that matter where they are going. Just as a matter of warning, this may prove to be one of those thoughts, but please keep reading. So, before we get too far into this quagmire perhaps I should ask, “Do you know what a ‘Push-Me-Pull-You’ is?” Well if you don’t or more than likely cannot remember, a “Push-Me-Pull-You” is a confused creature that looks like an alpaca with a head at both ends. It appeared in the original movie version of Dr. Dolittle. This creature could never decide which way to go so it never got anywhere.
Now that you know what a “Push-Me-Pull-You” is, do you ever feel confused, disoriented, or unsure about the course of action you should take? There is a reason I’m asking. The world we live in is full of critical needs. There is no shortage of lives in crisis and as the children of God we have a responsibility to love God and reach out to meet the needs in our community. How many times have we heard or read the parable of the Good Samaritan?
Luke 10:25-37 “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” (KJV)
This story teaches us a clear Christian responsibility to address needs when they arise within the community. However, it does not discuss the process of discernment necessary to manage the resources available within our families or our churches. If we do not evaluate and prioritize the issues we face we cannot effectively serve God or adequately love the people He brings into our sphere of influence. We must be able to step back from the situation and think before we act. If we get swept away with the emotion of the moment we simply become part of the drama instead of being Christ’s hand extended in reconciliation.
The clear and present leading of the Holy Spirit will guide us as we serve God, but our actions cannot be selfishly motivated and “Spirit Led” at the same time. Those two approaches are mutually exclusive. Sometimes, people are in need through no fault of their own. Unforeseen circumstances arise and the need is critical. At other times, proper planning and varied applications of wise counsel can prevent issues from building to the point of devastation.
Deuteronomy 15:7 “But if there are any poor Israelites in your towns when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward them.” (NLT)
The church as God has instituted it is constantly moving forward in the direction He has chosen. We cannot afford the “Push-Me-Pull-You” dance in place approach to ministry.
Luke 14:27-29 “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,” (KJV)
We are called, by God, as master builders to pour into the lives of people in need. We must use the resources at our disposal with discernment. Teach, train, equip, help and heal: these are the mandates we have as the priesthood of believers. They cannot be accomplished in the absence of wise counsel.
Proverbs 11:14 “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” (KJV)