Monday, March 3, 2014
What's Right about Helping Needy People
"When the church gets social action right, it can impact the world with its message of redemption from sin, and become an example of Christ, who "did not come to be served, but to serve" (Mark 10:45)*
Often I have heard people debating between the social gospel and the evangelistic gospel. Yes, many religions and denominations have swung so far to the social end that any mention of Jesus would be purely accidental. Many others have swung so far the other way, you would be hard pressed to find any ounce of compassion for those in need.
The essence of Christianity has always been - others. God has saved us, not just for our own benefit, but so that we can be a blessing to others. The truth of the gospel is that we are saved by grace through faith, a gift that comes from God. (Ephesians 2:8-9). Yet, the apostle James reminds us that "faith without works is dead." (James 1:20).
We are called by God to help one another. We find that it has been the Christian Church that was responsible for starting the idea of hospitals, outreach to alcoholics, unwed mothers, education, soup kitchens, food pantries, etc. While the world seeks to denigrate the Christian, we have been busy reaching out and meeting needs. A telephone company once had a slogan - "Reach out and touch someone." This has been the challenge of the church since Christ walked on this earth (consider how many needy people Christ reached out and touched).
Today, I am with a group of men from North Carolina who are at the Kentucky Border in a small town called Keokee, VA. We are there to assist a small fellow-church with the work of installing two showers in their building. The reason they want to have these showers is so that other teams of missionaries can come into their area and help so many others who have needs. We are helping them, so that in turn they can help others who are seeking to help others.
Christ did not come to be served - He came to serve, and if we are to like Him, we also must serve. We hear a lot about DNA today. It can be used to determine guilt or innocence in a legal case. It also can be used to identify relatives to one another. As Christians, we are to carry the DNA of our brother - Jesus Christ. He came to give of Himself, and selflessly serve others. It's in our DNA - so let's be like Jesus. Let's do what He did - serve others.
* Towns, Elmer L. (2009) What's Right with the Church: A manifesto of Hope. Regal/Ventura CA. p136