Launch a justice revolution in your community
Mark Kelly writes at kainos:
… We are not bound to give money to every panhandler on the street or beggar at the door. Our help should not hurt, and most of the time our good hearts urge us to precisely the wrong thing. …
In the same vein, we are not called as the Church to provide a comprehensive social welfare system for our country. … The churches as they are today spiritually, simply are not up to the challenge of miraculous signs and wonders. Faced with a crowd of 5,000 hungry men, plus women and children, most churches would say, “We have some Rice-A-Roni in the pantry, but what is that among so many?”
While we are not bound to provide for all the poor of our town or country, we are absolutely bound to provide assistance for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in need, whether they are in our own congregation or halfway around the world. If I read Matthew 25 correctly, we are bound to love one another at a very high level. Jesus gave his disciples a “new commandment” – “Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.”
Given the fact Jesus said this just hours before he would be tortured to death for the sins of the world, I’d say he set a very high standard for us in loving our brothers and sisters in Christ.
None of this, however, lets any believer off the hook for helping the poor and oppressed who are not in Christ. Acts 10:38, reminds us that when God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power, Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the Devil. Our call as his followers is to bring God’s justice and healing to people in need, regardless of whether they believe.
Helping people in need is a powerful witness to the love of Christ that transforms us from greedy self-absorbed individuals into the hands and feet of Jesus among the hungry, sick, and imprisoned. I doubt it was a coincidence that as the church in Jerusalem provided for its widows with a daily distribution of food, the number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem as well. (Acts 6:1-7)
… God’s people can launch a justice revolution in their community by demonstrating Jesus’ kind of self-sacrificing love for their own needy brothers and sisters. … When we make common cause with leaders of other sectors in society, very powerful alliances can be built that are capable of fundamentally realigning even entire countries toward justice.
Ignoring the cries of the poor and oppressed offends God and put us (as it did with Israel) in danger of exile and captivity, but it also deprives us of the joy that comes with seeing God work miracles through his people. Remember: “By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.” (Ephesians 3:20 NLT)
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