The Upside Down Kingdom Part 8
The Leprosy Mission produces an internal daily devotional guide, The Bridge, for use in offices, hospitals, clinics and projects around the world. Current and former staff and trustees from many countries contribute to the guide. We will share with you contributions made by one of our team.
Norman Lazonby, a member of our board, has written this series of thoughts on the Beatitudes.
John Stott, in his commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, says the beatitudes are Christ’s own specification of what every Christian ought to be. They set forth the balanced and variegated character of Christian people. These are not eight separate and distinct groups of disciples, some of whom are meek, while others are merciful and yet others are called upon to endure persecution.
In the first seven beatitudes, those who God blesses could largely be seen as people of any faith or those without faith. And it is true that the Bible tells us that God is concerned for all peoples and especially the weak, the poor and the oppressed.
But when it comes to the final beatitude, Jesus refers specifically to his followers who will receive their reward in the life to come. As Jesus’ followers, we may be mocked and persecuted in this life but if we persevere to the end a great reward awaits us.
Like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane we may pray for God to take away our suffering but only if it is His will for us. We may need to be willing to make a stand for Jesus in the face of opposition to demonstrate our faith and to be a witness to the Good News.
As followers of Jesus, it is not enough to just believe the right things but we also need to do the right things. The book of James tells us that faith without deeds is dead or useless.
The Kingdom of God is an upside down Kingdom but it is not just about a reversal of values in the life to come, God’s Kingdom is also at least partly present in the here and now.
As followers of Jesus we cannot just withdraw into a private faith – our faith in Jesus needs to be lived out in the public sphere. Jesus told his followers they needed to be in this world but not of it.
As a Christ-centred organisation, Jesus is at the heart of all we do in The Leprosy Mission. We work to defeat leprosy and transform lives. We want to make leprosy a thing of the past to finish what Jesus started.
Prayer: Almighty God, when we feel weak and discouraged, give us we pray the strength to continue to follow your Son Jesus. When we are afraid to speak out, help us not to deny Jesus but give us the words and the courage we need to bring your Good News to a broken world. Help us to persevere during times of difficulty. Please equip TLM with all it needs to defeat leprosy one person at a time.
Question: When was the last time that you spoke to a non-Christian about the Christ-centred work of TLM?