I remind people all the time that we're living in a world we were never designed to live in. We were designed for the Garden of Eden, a paradise. If you hadn't noticed, this is anything but paradise! Things happen to us that we were never designed for. Things that cut, sting, wound, hurt, and cause us, in a very real way, to bleed out. We've become what the Bible calls faint-hearted.
The word “faint-hearted” is the fascinating Greek word, “Oligopsuchos,” which literally means “small-souled.”
We've atrophied from what we were originally designed to be. But that’s where Jesus comes in!
I love what Jesus said in Matthew 12, quoting Isaiah, He said, “A bruised reed He will not break…” Matthew 12:20a (NIV) But what does that mean?
In the ancient world, they would take reeds, carve them, and put holes in them to make flutes. If you bruised, bent, or broke the reed, it wouldn't play. So they’d throw it away because there were a bunch of other reeds out there.
Listen, my friend, God will never treat you as a bruised reed. He will never say, “This one’s no good anymore! There's lots of reeds I can use.” That's not our God.
He will never cast off the bruised reed!
In the same verse Jesus says, “...And a smoldering wick He will not put out…” Matthew 12:20b (NASB) What is He saying to us?
Well, to make a lamp in the ancient world, they would put in oil, and they would put a wick in the oil. When the wick began to burn down, it wouldn't give off much light. It was no big deal. They would extinguish it, throw it away, and get another wick. There were plenty of wicks out there.
What does Jesus say about a smoldering wick? He says, “I will never extinguish it!”
My friends, it’s time for the Church to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s time for the church to reach out to those smoldering wicks, those bruised reeds, those small-souled people...and love on them! Be with them. Live with them.
It’s time to teach the faint-hearted who they really are and how much God loves them!
Tell the faint-hearted that He will never, ever, cast them aside!
This is the love of our great God. This is the love of Jesus!