Monday, January 21, 2013

No Free Passes

~Tracy Frederick

For some time a phrase I hear quite frequently has started to bother me. Now, please understand, I know the purpose of praying for others (Eph 6:18, James 5:16, Acts 8:24) and am in continual prayer for people daily (many of you). The phrase to which I am referring is the generic phrase in which we ask God to “do” something for someone who is ill, or “remove” some kind of sin/challenge in someone’s life so they will return to the Lord, etc. There are many ways I can go with this short article about these kinds of phrases, but for today I am mindful our responsibility in this phrase, or lack thereof. As pointed out in the references above, we are to pray for others continually. However, I am concerned that we will use these phrases as a “free pass” or an excuse to push our responsibilities off on God. I fear that when we pray for God to do something, we feel we’ve done all that we can, or have removed our obligations or responsibilities for each other stops there. The teachings of our Savior resonant in my mind each time I hear that kind of phrase when He admonished His followers: “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” Matt 25: 44-46.  or what about: “and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? James 2:16. Or what about: But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” I John 3:17. I will continue to pray for others, as I hope you do as well, but each time I ask the Lord for some kind of help for another, I am also on the hook to do something. There was an old song that I rarely hear anymore that goes something like this: the Lord has no other hands but our hands, has no other feet but our feet.  The most important help we can give another is to pray for them, but the follow-up is up to us.

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