“Today’s Spiritual Gift – Mercy”

The Beans:

The Background:

This study is designed to introduce you to some of the Spiritual gifts listed in the Bible, and hopefully, as you learn a little more about them, you’ll be able to identify your own strengths.

The Verse:

Matthew 9:9-13

“9 Passing along, Jesus saw a man at his work collecting taxes. His name was Matthew. Jesus said, “Come along with me.” Matthew stood up and followed him.

10-11 Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?”

12-13 Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.”

The Fill:

What’s the point?

Today’s Spiritual Gift: Mercy

I bet you can remember being a child (or more likely a teenager), and during a lecture after doing something wrong, thinking “geez that was NOT worth this lecture! Let it go Mom and Dad, I get it!

We hated it when our parents and teachers would harp on our mistakes, never letting them go – yet we do the same thing today. We fail to show mercy to our spouse, our children, friends and strangers all the time.

And we even harp on our own mistakes and issues …. We beat ourselves up over and over again – never letting our mistakes be a thing of the past.

Jesus so beautifully demonstrates what forgiveness looks like here … Tax Collectors were loathed by society, in Jesus’ time, for stealing from the poor to make themselves and the Roman Government rich.

Catching Matthew in the act, He simply says, “Want to follow me?” There’s no lengthy discussion about what Matthew was doing and how it hurt people and why it was bad …. Jesus knows our hearts. He knew Matthew’s heart – He knew that Matthew didn’t need a lecture – He needed an invitation to something better!

Matthew accepts the invitation and then offers one of his own. Matthew invites Jesus and His disciples to a dinner party at his home. Of course this means that other “riffraff” from society will be there. When the Pharisees learn about Jesus hanging around these people they confront His Disciples …. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?”

Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’

I worked for “the church.” I have nothing wrong with other denominations and/or preachers of those. In fact, by association of attendance for a year or more, I have been a Conservative Presbyterian in the PCA, a Baptist, an Anglican and now a part of the PC USA – what I’m referring to has way more to do with individuals and how they treat others than any denomination’s doctrine ….. With that being said ….

Religious leaders and self-proclaiming Christians from around the world have it all wrong!

People are walking away from “the church,” because the standards are impossible to live up to.

The thing that absolutely breaks my heart about our world today, is the fact that people are driving others away from Godin the name of Jesus!

I saw a billboard on 77 between Charlotte and Rock Hill that literally almost made me run off the road. It read “Real Christians obey ALL of God’s teachings!” While the words themselves can be interpreted as “ok,” the message they were trying to send brings out feelings of shame and guilt.

And THAT, in and of itself, goes against Jesus’ teachings!

Jesus, in His entire earthly ministry, never condemned, never judged and never sought to make anyone feel like anything other than a precious child of God.

He didn’t offer lectures, He offered invitations.

People don’t come to church because they’re afraid of being judged.

People don’t come to church because they don’t think they will be accepted.

If we, as Christians, learned to deal with sin the way Jesus does – my goodness “the church” universally, would be booming!

The Steam:

What does all of this mean to me/how can I apply that to my life today? 

To help you identify what your spiritual gifts are, there are several tools and tests you can take for free online.

Or to help you begin thinking about it, I encourage you to spend the course of this study reflecting on the following questions:

  1. What do you enjoy doing?
  2. When you hear about people helping others, do you feel drawn to specific stories? (i.e. children, those living in poverty, racial equality etc.)
  3. Ask someone who knows you well, what gifts they see in you? What do they think you are best at?