Jesus-less Goodness?

Buttered Bread RollI like to cook…with real stuff.

If recipes call for fat-free, it won’t happen – not in this kitchen. Anything home-cooked will far exceed everything processed. Plus, throw in good company and the truth is good food with good people is worth cooking with good stuff. Margarine….no. 

To tweak the metaphor, today I was at a great company involved in a great cause. Let me say it straight – what this company is doing to love its neighbor, to help the helpless, and give in order that those in need might be healed, is extraordinary. I was moved. 

What I noticed? Jesus was never mentioned.

As a Christian, I believe Jesus is always there. Even if unknown, the Holy Spirit is at work to bring even the unbeliever into an awareness of God. In spite of that belief, however, I feel – what is the right word? – better, more assured, stronger, convicted – when The Name is named. In spite of all the love your neighbor I saw today, the one who died championing that cause went unmenitoned.

It made me feel awkward. Why?

This metaphor is a stretch but it is all I have – loving your neighbor without naming Jesus is like cooking without real ingredients – the flavor is lost. There is no substitute for the One who above any other lived, taught, and died for the idea we are to love another as if he or she was us. 

I believe Jesus always present, even if just under the surface. In corporate America, hopefully Christians are behind the scenes. In every person advocating helping the least, I pray a worshipper is present – because the truth is no matter the circumstances, there is no goodness without Christ.

In spite of this, however, proclaiming the love of God and neighbor without naming Jesus is like claiming victory without a coach – or to use my stretched metaphor –  dinner without a chef. For all love there is a reason, and his name is Jesus. Today reminded me of 1 John.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:8

Where love is present, God is there. For now, we will continue to love God and neighbor until the name is proclaimed.


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