We hear a lot these days about the evils of human trafficking, slave labor, abortion, sexual abuse, murder, rape and an endless list of other ways humans devise to hate one another. And frankly, I get overwhelmed. I’m just one person; I can’t solve the world’s problems. I don’t have unlimited financial resources. I have to pick and choose those agencies to which I give my money.
Walk for Life? Sure, I lost a mom and a grandmother to cancer. I have at least half a dozen friends who are cancer survivors. I know at least that many more who lost a loved one to the hated disease. Can I give to every group raising money for cancer research? No.
Abortion? I detest the thought, but I have known people who have succumbed to that choice. Can I support every politician who wants to ban it forever? Every organization who fights against it? No. And, in fact, I firmly believe that you can’t legislate morality.
So how do I make a difference? This week, I am in Asheville, N.C., working at a JESUS Film Project (click here to learn more) fundraising event. Here, people who have a large capacity to give, and a heart to see people changed from the inside out, will be presented with the opportunity to fund film translations, electronic media projects and other things that will take the gospel to the far corners of the earth.
I have spent the last 26+ years of my life raising my own personal support and working for a community of believers dedicated to connecting people to God. That is the only way true change is going to happen. (Click here to learn more.)
In 2nd Corinthians 8:5, Paul says, “And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.”
In John 12, we read about an encounter Jesus had with Mary where she took a pint of pure nard, “an expensive perfume,” and poured it on Jesus’ feet. Judas Iscariot complained: “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” John tells us, “He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.”
Jesus rebuked Judas. “‘Leaver her alone. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me'” (John 12:1-8).
I’m not a Bible scholar, but it seems to me that Jesus isn’t telling us to ignore the poor, but rather to honor Him in whatever way we can. Earlier, He had told the parable of the sheep and the goats, when some would be sent away into the lake of fire because He never knew them. But He tells those who were involved in good works that they were welcomed into the kingdom. They replied, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”
Jesus says, “‘The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me”‘” Matthew 25.
Ignore the poor and the needy at your own risk, but compartmentalize God’s Word at an even greater risk. If we’re not right with God at a soul level, whatever we do, even with right motives, risks being burned up as wood, hay and straw. (See 1 Cor. 3:10-15: “. . .his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work” v. 13.)
Sitting and doing nothing is not an option; pray, discern God’s will, then get to work.
Thankful today for:
182. lots and lots of trees
183. the beauty of the blooming dogwood trees
184. that I didn’t throw up on the bumpy descent into Asheville
185. not having to cook or make my bed for the next 5 days
186. my mother in law
187. a late start to my assignment for the day