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Empty Religion

Two weeks ago, as I was leaving the supermarket I was approached by a beggar who I knew very well was going to waste the money in my pocket if I gave it to her. So I said initially no, and headed to my car. I rationalised she was going to "waste it" or "feed the habit".

As I sat in my car, God whispered quietly - "how many times have I given you something even after you have blown it? I never keep a record with you or ask whether Chola deserves to breath the air today after wasting it yesterday. So why don't you for once show the same grace to this woman?"

I humbly repented while in my driving seat before turning the ignition. And lo and behold, the woman came to knock on my window. I rather was stunned. And gave her the money I had. I was thankful for her. Now of course the woman most likely conned me. But I also know God used that opportunity to teach me grace.

What I have found even more interesting is how God has reinforced that message. On my way to Bible Study on Wednesday, I jumped into my car only to find that from Sunday I had left the car window completely open! Last year my car was completely broken into it and I lost my SATNAV. This time nothing has been taken. I praised and thanked God for the reminder of His care to me a repetitive sinner!

When I got to Bible Study, the passage was Luke 15:1-10. The opening verses were like a spear to my bones : Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1, 2).

I thought to myself, "that is me Lord, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law". While Jesus is busy hanging around sinners and the down casts, I quietly shove my shopping past them and quickly get into my car and speed off! It is not very Christlike now is it? It is an empty religion that I hold that does not reflect the grace I have received!

I am praying God teaches me to treat people the way he has treated me. And the verse God has given me is this : This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:10, 11). 

And by the way, I did have at least two people say, "why did you not by the woman food instead of the money?" But they missed the point totally. It is not about the woman! It is about my sin and how far I am from God's will often. The problem was not buying the beggar food or giving her money, the problem is that my sin blinded me from the beggar!  

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013

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