Be an Upstander, Not a By Stander

There is an old Jewish joke about a mother kvelling on her son the doctor. “My son is an outstanding doctor in his field!” the mother says. To which her disgruntled relative says, “Yes, he is out standing in right field!”

As we enter the third year of the Covid pandemic, have you noticed a grinding away of the social graces among many who live without the knowledge or hope of Jesus? Who do you know who is mumbling and grumbling because of deteriorating circumstances, be it health, work, challenging relationships, or fear of the unknown?

Over and over again in scripture we see Jesus tending not only to the health needs of hurting people, but also to their general needs of food, etc. Matthew 14 gives us a prominent example, with Jesus feeding the 5,000:

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. (Matt. 14:14-21, NIV)

Jesus demonstrated his compassion for those lost and hurting so that his disciples might catch on and continue his focus on caring and sharing. Instead, the disciples wanted the masses to be sent away to go and fend for themselves. Jesus wanted to shower the people with love by giving them what was needed right where they were. His example of UP standing still speaks to my heart today in helping others who are lost and hurting.

I am reminded of the familiar hymn “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus” by George Duffield:

Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
Ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high his royal banner,
It must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory
His army shall he lead,
Till every foe is vanquished,
And Christ is Lord indeed.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
Stand in his strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you,
Ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the gospel armor,
Each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger,
Be never wanting there.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
The strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle,
The next the victor's song.
To those who vanquish evil
A crown of life shall be;
They with the King of Glory
Shall reign eternally

Each day I am eager to see just who the Lord will bring across my path that I might extend a word of hope and grace and stand up for the Lord and I pray that you will too.

Steve Cohen is the founder of Apple of His Eye

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