Most of you know that in July Nick and I returned to the Dominican to work out some logistics for our move. On this particular trip I struggled with the vast number of people who needed or were asking for help. Brian Berman suggested that I read the book When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett. It was an eye opening read overall, but something specific really struck me at the beginning of the book. It has stuck with me and I feel like it is something that needs to be shared. The following is straight from the book:
We are the richest people ever to walk the face of the earth. Period. Yet most of us live our lives as though there is nothing terribly wrong in the world. We attend our kids’ soccer games, pursue our careers, and take beach vacations while 40 percent of the world’s inhabitants struggle just to eat every day. And in our own backyards, the homeless, those residing in the ghettos, and a wave of immigrants live in a world outside the economic and social mainstream of North America. We do not necessarily need to feel guilty of our wealth, But we do need to get up every morning with a deep sense that something is terribly wrong and yearn to do something about it. There is simply not enough yearning and striving going on. -Steve Corbett
Now let that sink in: forty percent of the people on this planet wake up each day wondering where their next meal will come from. I can honestly say that I nor my children have woken up and wondered how will I eat today, but this is not the case for many. We tend to imagine this to be an issue that affects those on the other side of the planet, but it is something that hits close to home no matter where we live. For many of us, it’s easier just to look the other way and feel like it’s not our fault that others are in the situation they are in. While this may be true, we do have a responsibility to react to the issue. We see in Acts that the Holy Spirit led the early Church to solve the issue by changing how they viewed their resources: All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need – Acts 4:32-35. We must remember that everything we have comes from God so we are sharing what is already His.
As Corbett eluded, we should not allow this to cause us to feel guilty. There is nothing inherently wrong with being financially blessed. We should also not allow this issue to consume us. After all, filling stomachs or assisting financially is not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is reaching people for Christ and we sometimes must start by showing love in the form of fulfilling an Earthly need. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples – John 13:34-35. We must remember that we were all created equal and are not superior to any other human being just because of their social class status. The Bible has a great deal to say about how we should respond to those in need, and if we are seeking to be obedient, ignoring the issue is not an option. I challenge you to look at your resources in a new way. Do something radical and give, but don’t stop there. Use it as an opportunity to open a heart, share the awesome message of Christ, and make an eternal impact in someone’s life.