When Martin Young was a teenager growing up in England he got his first car — an old Mini.
“I was really pleased with it,” he said. “It had red leather seats and a front dash made of walnut wood.”
But Young, now senior minister of Rising Brook Community Church, Staffordshire, United Kingdom, said God stretched him when someone in his church asked him if he could give some local children a ride to church with him.
He said yes and when he first knocked on their door he was stunned.
“The mother had a serious disability and the father had been working as a paint sprayer in a factory and had damaged his lungs and was sick,” Young said. “It was a really, really poor household.”
‘Care for people’
The three children piled in his car week after week getting the seats of his Mini — his pride and joy — grubby.
“But as we did this week in and week out God spoke to me and said, ‘Martin, I’m calling you to people who have not got anything. I’m calling you to the sick, the poor. I want you to use yourself and your resources to care for people and love people,’” he said.
Preaching on Matthew 5:7 at the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors Conference on June 10 in Birmingham, Young said Christians are to show mercy to others out of the overflow of the mercy Christ has shown them.
When Jesus said, “blessed are the merciful” He didn’t mean for mercy to be a transaction, that Christians would give it expecting mercy in return, Young said. He meant for mercy to be who Christians are — people with hearts full of mercy that flows to other people.
“Mercy is the practice of the kingdom of heaven,” he said. “Mercy was how we were first made. This is us — made in the image of God. It’s the posture of life and faith for us.”
It’s the most powerful weapon against resentment, bitterness and competition, Young said.
He encouraged those present to look for moments like he had in his Mini at age 17.
“Those moments have a way of opening our eyes,” Young said. “Look around you. See who’s there, who’s next door, who your church can reach out to. Say, ‘Here and now, every moment, open my eyes, God. I want to be a merciful person.’” (Grace Thornton)