Therefore, thus says the LORD, I have returned to Jerusalem with mercy; my house shall be built in it, declares the LORD of hosts, and the measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem. 17 Cry out again, Thus says the LORD of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.'"
To be a willing comforter requires a grateful heart. When we've been blessed with God's mercy, we want to share that goodness. We willingly put down our own desires and want to help others.
Maybe you've read "Same Kind of Different as Me" by Denver Moore. Denver is a black man raised in a small town in virtual slavery. To Denver Moore being homeless was a step up. In the middle of having nothing, the soup kitchens were a way to survive. This is movie currently in production being produced by the actor Samuel Jackson.
There is a small detail in the book, but it tells us what kind of homeless man Denver was.
The Christian Soup Kitchen was the first time Denver Moore was provided for. He adopted an 82 year old man - so mean - that one day a car pulled up and out the 82 year old man was tossed to the Soup Kitchen. His wife and children just tossed him out - he'd been a successful business man, but his family had enough. Eventually the man couldn't walk to the kitchens and Denver began to bring him his meals. Denver heard a litany of curses about his color, his kindness, even his Christianity. Denver bathed the man, fed him and cleaned his bedding. The man continued to proclaim his own racist superiority. Denver just ignored him and spoke to him.
After more than 80 years of hate, an abandoned old man was led to Christ by another homeless man. Denver Moore, a man without education or property, allowed the abandoned old man to fully live and accept the unrelenting love of Jesus Christ. How was Denver able to care for him past the hate? Denver had been given the same relentless love at a Christian Homeless Shelter. One person worked to make the light of Christ shine for Denver.
Denver Moore had to be willing to put some things down to help the old man. Denver had to forgive the people who had treated him poorly. Denver had to hear the scoffing of the others - homelessness has an element of power in survival mode. Denver had to allow himself to be vulnerable.
Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.49 "I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."
This Scripture is uncomfortable. But Biblical truths sometimes have irony - sometimes just to catch our attention.
Denver a homeless black man was powerless in all that we enjoy in the world. Yet he was able to bring Jesus to a man so hateful and racist - no one reached him for 80 years. Complete lack of comfort led to an eternity of blessings. The most important thing for all of eternity. Jesus. One day that bitter, horrible old man realized all he had in the world was a black man willing to be the steadfast and relentless love of Jesus - just for him. Just to be loving.
The Luke 12 words of Jesus are extremely uncomfortable for us today. No one would sign up for this type of unhappiness. But for us today, it is a blessing. We are the beneficiaries of the generations of those who stood in the gap. For us today - Luke 12 means not to stand before Caesar, not be be pulled from our homes. Freedom to get up Sunday and decide where we will worship. Many places to drive our cars if we want a new Bible.
The division we have today is to say - I see any type of situation and I decide - I will put myself out to make a difference. Why would I decide to have any discomfort? The gratitude of what Jesus has done for me. The gratitude to the many generations who have made our lives this comfortable. In our comfort, we also find the ability to stand up, speak up and make a difference.
Comfort and love for others requires a grateful heart.
Fortunately, God doesn't require us to be the Savior. We can Never save others anymore than we can save ourselves. But our decision is this - to hold the love God has for us so dearly these words become our own -
To give justice with mercy and walk humbly with the Lord.
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
With just faith, hope and love in these words of the Lord, we can comfort and love all the people God would have us to love.