Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

With Him

   I can’t help returning from time to time to consideration of the warm appeal which characterized our Lord. Common folk heard Him gladly. People who were well known in the community for their sinful excesses sought Jesus out and wanted to be with Him…wanted to listen to Him…wanted to eat with Him. What was it about Him that drew them? There were plenty of other religious types around that those same people avoided like the plague…but not Jesus.

   What should we learn from this? It wasn’t holiness that people wanted to avoid. For Jesus was the holiest of all, yet they were drawn to Him. His sinless purity did not put them off. His religiosity didn’t drive a wedge between Him and them, for He prayed, He assembled every sabbath, He read the Bible and He preached. But none of this proved to be a turn-off to those so overcome by sin. So what was the secret? Why did sinners seek Him out?

   I think the answer lies in both His purpose and His method. Helping was His purpose and loving was His method. Jesus didn’t “put on airs” with people. He didn’t pursue a certain demographic. He was after people. He wasn’t only looking for wealthy, young professionals with young families in order to create a movement with the finances and energy level to sustain itself. He simply looked for the lost in order to bring them home. He was Himself one of the people, and He was “real” about it. Jesus didn’t use “stained-glass” language which ordinary people couldn’t understand. He just spoke to their hearts. He came into the world to help sinners. And He got right to it. “…I am among you as One Who serves…” He said (Luke 22:27b). He looked into their hearts…saw their rank evil…and yet, or even because of that, had compassion on them. He knew what should have been. He could see what might have been. And He believed in what could yet be.

   As I consider this truth about Jesus, I am forced to admit my distance from Him, which explains my distance from other sinners. Jesus knew their sin and didn’t turn away in shock or revulsion. No…He stayed at it. He loved them and wanted better for them. He “received them.” And in His loving, gracious reception of sinners they made a wonderful discovery. They began to look at themselves through His eyes. Because of Him, they dared to believe that they could be better…do better…that maybe they, too, could escape the “death” that had its icy fingers wrapped around their hearts and find real life. Being with Jesus created an appetite within them to always want to be with Him…whether He was on the highways and by-ways lifting, comforting, cleaning, feeding, hugging, freeing, teaching, and listening…or in the garden praying…or in the synagogues worshipping. They felt welcomed, because they were. They felt hope come alive inside them. A small flame of faith began to flicker in their hearts as they listened to Him. They never knew religion could be like this…that it could mean having an actual relationship with God…one in which you really walked and talked, lived, loved and served in His presence…with Him…day by day and night to night. No…God, in the flesh, did not make people feel uncomfortable, or unacceptable or unwanted.

   Now what about the Christian in the church building? What about me?

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11 thoughts on “With Him

  1. Wow. Powerful thoughts Doug. Jesus gave people what they needed even when they really didn’t know themselves what they needed or wanted. He accepted them. Isn’t that what we all want deep down? Someone that loves and accepts us without our having to be “on” all the time? Someone that sees thru the facade and loves us anyway? Jesus does that to perfection with us. I confess that I am very weak in this area. I get so wrapped up in my world that when I see someone that needs hope (needs Jesus) I will back away because I’m just too busy, too tired to take on their stuff. I want to do better with that.

    • oakesclan on said:

      The beauty of this acceptance you wrote about is that it ends up helping us to open up and become human beings. Sometimes those who plead loudly for acceptance are actually asking for permission to be and do whatever they want. But when Jesus came to the sin-cursed, he found that many of them (not all) were weary of their sinning and hadn’t a clue how to escape the vicious cycle life had become. I re-potted a Norway spruce recently. I put it in a bigger pot which contained a fresh mix of soil and some fertilizer. That thing has grown nearly a foot taller and branched out amazingly in only a few months. The soil accepted the roots, embraced them really, and a wonderful exchange began to take place. The roots drew from that soil the nurture and moisture needed not only to survive but to thrive. This is what real acceptance does. It is not permission to do whatever we like. It is not excusing or condoning the wrong. It is providing a safe place from which to begin all over again. It is wonderful. And even though you confess to being too busy and too tired to do this as you would like, I know there are precious souls who have been enabled to find renewal in the loving safety of your acceptance of them. There is all about you, Sherry, the fragrant aroma of the Nazarene. I detect the beautiful scent, even across the miles. May God continue to bless you in His service.

  2. Sis Gail on said:

    I hope as I live on in the world that God will help me be more welcoming and lifting and accepting as Jesus was. I know people need to be loved sincerely and cared for. They just need good, honest love and openness of our lives to them.
    This opening up will show them we have trouble in this world also and they will see that God still loves us and cares about us even when we do have trouble. Doug has told me in our talks sometimes that “God did not promise us a rose garden here”. But he does make us eternal promises that will be an Aroma which lasts and will be worth everything we endure here on this earth. I remember 1 Corthinians 13 which teaches us – That Love is the Greatest of all things…The Most Excellent Way.

    • oakesclan on said:

      The desire to be more like Jesus has always characterized you, sister. Is there anything better we could desire for ourselves? I don’t believe so. You have already come a long way in His likeness. You are unselfish. You have always been interested in the eternal welfare of the souls of others. You have worked and prayed in the Kingdom of the Lord. I believe the Lord will honor your request to be more welcoming and lifting and accepting, just like He is. One of these days you will see what a difference your life has made. God bless you. I love you, D

  3. Wayne Hunter on said:

    Hi Doug, I was sitting here in front of the computer and “googled” Doug Oakes and low and behold I ended up at “Acorns from Oakes”. I enjoyed reading your comments. Linda and I saw some Belmont people the other night at Wade Hampton’s viewing. It was a sad time for Ruth, Wayne, Connie and all the family but was nice to see some old friends. Linda and I are going to Phoenix in the morning to spend a few days with Tim and Belinda. She has improved some since the stroke — is home but Tim has pretty much constant help with her now. I’m sure you have enjoyed your time in California with your family. The years are blowing by so fast — I keep thinking 60 is the new 30 — being empty nesters is really different. I am looking forward to grandkids someday. More later. God Bless. Wayne and Linda

    • oakesclan on said:

      Hey Wayne,
      Great to hear from you, brother. I had learned of Wade’s departure, but the timing of the funeral prevented my attendance. I’m glad you got to see some of the old crowd. I think of Tim and Belinda…and of what I know about the struggles of their lives. They have great faith. But it has to be so very difficult. And their struggles have lasted so very long. I’m glad they have such good friends as you and Linda. I pray that God will uphold them in their faith and, somehow, lighten their heavy load.
      You are right…the years quickly fly. Sixty’s not so bad. I got there last August. But it’s definitely not the new thirty.
      I can tell you this, brother, grandparenthood is awesome. You will just love it.
      Thanks for stopping by, Wayne. God bless you both…and all yours.

  4. Geniece on said:

    This is the truth that continues to draw me closer to Jesus, he knows where I’ve been and he still loves me. Thanks for your wonderful insights Doug.

    • oakesclan on said:

      Yes…He knows where we’ve been, yet loves us. He knows what we have thought, yet loves us. He knows the broken promises, the dashed hopes, the cherished evil, the lies, the laziness, the compromises, the selfishness, and all the rest of the unseemly things that have resided in our hearts…and still He loves us. He has seen us at our worst and still wanted us. It is His fierce love of us that is our hope. Because now that we’ve met Him, we want to be always with Him. And we don’t want our darkness to come between us. His light overcomes our darkness. But we don’t want to take any chances now. He is altogether too lovely to live without. So, bless His holy Name, changes begin to occur within us. We begin to see things and others as He does. We begin to adopt His methods. We begin to desire His purposes. We want to be His. We want to do His will. We want to be better for Him. All of this arises from the way He loved and loves us in spite of ourselves.
      Thank you, Geniece, for your encouraging comment. I am praying for you and yours.

  5. Wayne Hunter on said:

    I always enjoy reading your blog, Doug. It’s been awhile since I’ve commented. Your post “With Him” touched me. I hope that I am of the disposition that others are drawn to faith by manner and not somehow repelled by it.

  6. Gail Oakes on said:

    Wayne I have always found this to be true of you and your family. Your genuine love and care for people have always been seen by me and most important others and Your God.

  7. Wayne Hunter on said:

    Thanks Gail — encouraging words.

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