Monday, October 12, 2009

True Fasting

"Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?"
~ Isaiah 58:7

Sometimes in the deep of our sleep we are awakend by an unusual sound.  Sometimes in the midst of our busy-ness we are disturbed by a strange sound - a sound that does not fit with the noise around us.  This noise does not have to be loud to get our attention because the magnitude does not count as much as the uniqueness of  the sound.

 It has been my obsevation that whenever I am awakened by an unusual sound, there are three things that happen after I open my eyes: 1.  Find out where I am,  2. In my blurred vision, I figure out what's going on around me, 3. Then decide what I should do next.  Most of the time I never get to the third step - I just go back to sleep.  More often than not I wake up with a headache. 

Last night,  I've heard that unusual sound (that keeps coming every once in my life) when my family watched a video of Harvey Carey [Leadership Summit 2009].  In his talk he articulated the need for christians to "break up from their huddles and start to play the game", stop collecting binders from numerous seminars and get to action, and avoid being in the state of "paralysis by analysis".  Instead of counting out your financial resources for a ministry get busy figuring out what our Almighty God can do and depend on that. "You need to learn how to just go and do what Jesus said to go and do." 

This morning John Hamm talked about his story in meeting Pastor Naha and eventually starting "My Brother's Burden".   He underscored the unusual voice from God that rang in his ear time after time.  God's voice came to John through the the passages in Isaiah 58:10 - "if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday."

   'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
~ Matthew 25:45

We are very comfortable here in America.  In fact this is the very best place to live.  We hardly ever know what real suffering means.  We mistake simple inconveniences for true tribulations.  When our peace and quiet is disturbed by a news that some people somewhere need help,  it is easy to close our eyes and go back to sleep.  We see and hear about sufferings around us and our pious response is to close our eyes in prayer and skip a couple of meals in fasting.  We know that God is pleased with us when we pray and fast.  Nevertheless, we need not forget that praying and fasting are means to an end.  They are intended to prepare us mentally and spiritually to join God in His agenda.  Isaiah 58 describes what true fasting is all about.  God did not create us to be a bucket but a well.  A bucket collects but a well gives.

I believe that God meant for us to help those in need not only in our abundance but give to the point of being in need.  God's grace is sufficient for us.  He does not want us to rely on the things that He gave us but on Him. 


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