A 65 year-old grandmother, who cares for two disabled siblings and houses several adult grandchildren on the bank of the Saranac River, just lost everything in recent ice jams and subsequent flooding. Although it has been years since she and some members of her family have come to church, I have been connecting her with various agencies with which I have contact and of course with her church family that wants to know how to help.
We all have a need for intercession and in turn need to intercede for others. I have come across both givers and takers in my twenty years of ministry, and it is certainly the givers who have the hardest time accepting help.
I. Exodus 32:7-14. When God wanted to destroy the Israelites He had just saved out of Egypt because they had fallen into idolatry, Moses interceded for them, even offering to take God’s punishment upon himself. Concerned for God’s Name, Moses even turned down God’s offer to make him into a great nation in place of Israel. Being an intercessor can often take self-denial and sacrifice.
II. Hebrews 7:23-25. No one would know that more than Jesus, who as our High Priest, laid down His own life to intercede for us at the right hand of the Father with His own blood. Like He did for the Israelites, God did not wait for us to repent first, but rather, before we realized our need, while we were still enemies to Him, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8).
III. 1 Timothy 2:1-3. Because of the intercession that we have received, we in turn intercede for others, regardless of how they have conducted themselves towards us or the church in the past. This is how God loved us, and so we in turn love others (1 John 3:16-18). This pleases God who wants all men to be saved, and who knows that your intercession might lead them to a knowledge of the truth?
Will helping this giving grandmother lead her back to God? Only God knows. But, already she has acknowledged that the church has always been there for her–even when she was not attending.