By REV. R. JOAQUIN WILLIS, D. MIN.
“GOD ’s Message came to me: “Can’t I do just as this potter does, people of Israel?” GOD ’s Decree! “Watch this potter, in the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you, people of Israel”. Jeremiah 18:5-7
When we understand God’s plans for us in life, our understanding empowers us and triggers the faith needed to make us well. Our instincts then become razor sharp, especially as we surrender to His will for us. In the Old Testament, God gives Jeremiah advice many immigrant minorities need to take today in America which is, “Make yourselves at home there (in Babylon) and work for the country’s welfare. “Pray for Babylon’s well- being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you.” Jeremiah 29:7 MSG God still calls us today to make ourselves at home in America, in the conquers’ country, (for African Americans, the capturer’s country). Despite all of this God tells us to, “Pray for him, and for the country’s welfare, and things will go well for you.” (Jeremiah 29:7) Believing that the written word of God is the inspiration of and from God has healing power. And zealous servants of the Lord (like me) use His Word and every means we can find, to profit those far and near.
This point is being clearly driven home in the recently released movie, The Birth of a Nation. The zealous Nat Turner effectively used his preaching gifts to benefit both slave and slave owners by teaching the gospel truth. In the end Turner dies for both preaching the truth and fighting for freedom.
In the days of Jeremiah, the people learned to live in fear of God and knew they could live comfortably in Babylonian captivity. God calls us today to live in all types of conditions. We must remember this wisdom and our duty to not to throw away the comforts we now have simply because we haven’t yet gotten all we should or could have.
They were directed back then to live quiet and peaceable lives under the king, live in godliness and honesty; patiently leaving the work of deliverance to God and in due sea- son they were told they would be free, and one day we will be too. God and Christ sees our suffering as lepers in today’s society. In Luke 17, “He entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” While still on their way, they became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine?
Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.” Luke17:13-19MSG Out of 10 lepers only one returned to give thanks. Christ noticed the one who distinguished himself by coming back to say thanks. When we turn from the sins that plague us and say thanks to Christ, we are healed, made well, and saved.
Life for many in America today is like life before Christ was born, back in Babylon. Many feel like ‘used-up servants’ who built the master’s house and farm, and now are not welcomed as immigrants to live in it. Outcast like the column of Lepers in Jesus’ compassionate story.
Having a sense of our own spiritual leprosy brings us closer to Christ. It humbles us especially when we remember His compassions towards us and how He never failed us.
We can see a loving God full of mercy when we walk in obedience. The other lepers got only outward cures, the returning leper, he alone got the full blessing, because his faith had both healed and saved him.
When God guides you to go and you go, in the process of going, your obedience, trust and patience in God activate the cure and heightens your spiritual cognition. Instinctively you turn toward Jesus and at that moment your faith heals you and makes you well and saved.
Then in the end you hear God tell you what he told Jeremiah; “Relax, for I know the plans I have for you, plans for you to prosper, and not to harm you plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 The Rev. R. Joaquin Willis, D. Min., is pastor of the Church of the Open Door UCC in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.