Wednesday, June 21, 2017
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Hundreds of thousands of Kurdish people had fled Saddam Hussein's Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, and they were spread over miles of mountainside on the Turkish border. Christian agencies were flooding in with food, medical help and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But most of the Christian workers connected with the people there only from trucks and distribution points, where they handed out food and blankets. But the missionaries from one particular mission organization really broke through the barrier that others were encountering when they tried to talk about Jesus. They had a unique way of getting close to the people and winning their respect and their trust. You ready to hear their radical outreach strategy? These missionaries picked up the garbage. See, it was everywhere on those mountainsides, and it was getting pretty gross. Nobody wanted to do the garbage, but those who were willing to were the ones those people listened to.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Being There For the Garbage."
What opened doors and hearts among those needy people on that Iraqi mountainside is the same thing that will open doors and hearts where you are-a willingness to win the right to be heard by being there for people's garbage.
It's what Jesus did. In Philippians 2:5-7, our word for today from the Word of God, He tells us: "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross."
This is the Jesus who touched the lepers that no one else would touch, who stopped for people that everyone else walked by, who washed the dirty feet of His followers, who defined His day by the needs of people who came to Him for help, and who allowed men He had made to beat Him and crucify Him. The King of heaven came to us as a servant and He stole our hearts away.
You have neighbors who really need your Jesus, coworkers, friends and family members. How are you ever going to get them interested in the Jesus who is their only hope? By serving them; by being there to help them with the garbage of their lives. In Jesus' name, be there when their health levels them, when their marriage is struggling or over, when they lose a loved one. Be there when all the funeral folks have gone home. Be there when they're struggling financially, when they don't have enough help, when their business is in trouble, when their kids are in trouble, or when they've lost their reputation and nobody wants to be around them any more.
Their moment of loss is your moment of loving opportunity to show them Jesus' love in action. When others walk out, you walk in. Then you will be ultimately in a position to explain to them where this love comes from. You're just loving them like you've been loved. By a Jesus who had poured everything out for you, because He died of a cross to clean up all the garbage of your life and the garbage of theirs.
First, you show them Jesus by serving them in the midst of their garbage. You win the right to be heard by being there to help pick up the pieces and pick up the garbage. Initially, they may not be interested in your message, but who can be against someone who picks up their heavy burden and helps them carry it; who is there when nobody else is? You can't be against that. It's that kind of love that will open their heart to the greatest love of all!