Help Who You Can; Help More Than You Can
Who do we help? Do we help everyone who expresses the need for help? What about those who need help but don't ask for it? What about people who don't need help and ask for it?
There seems to be a prevailing thought that we should help less people because there are a percentage that are “gaming” the system meant to help those in need. Of course no one will ever say that we should stop helping people all together, just make it so less people are able to get through in order to receive help.
Josh and I had a pre-recording conversation (that should have been recorded) where I basically ended up asking him “who is my neighbor” and if it mattered if what I gave in an effort to help was miss used. That is what it comes down to “stop people from misusing the aid that they are given.” People say that you shouldn't give money to the homeless because of what they could use it for. So I asked Josh if he thought that it was okay for me to give money (in my scenario I said about the ‘safety 20’ that people often have tucked away in their wallet) to a homeless person who could buy “drugs and alcohol” with it (I reject that stereotype about homeless people but I was using it for this argument that is often used). Josh asked a very important question at that point: “why are you giving the money? Is it because you feel guilty and you are doing it to ease your conscience so that you don't have to do anything else or are you giving because you are supposed to help people.” He’s right, we often throw money at something we don't want to actually have to face or think about.
The same goes for government funded help. We want the government to help the people who need help (especially if it is us who needs help) but we don't want any of that money to help people to be taken from us. “It’s the government’s job” to find the money and to help the people, is just another cop-out.
As Christians we should want to help those who need help, no strings attached. Helping people should not be a means to getting people to go to your church. We should just want to help people. If they want to know why we want to help, well then we can tell them about the hope and love we have in Jesus. Jesus time after time met physical needs and spiritual needs. Some of my greatest experiences have come from helping people and that’s not even the goal!
If your goal is to add numbers to your church, that does not mean your goal is to love as Jesus loved. Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Are we claiming to know Jesus but have not done any for the lease of these? This hurts me. It’s not the helping people that saves us, but if we have been saved how can we not help people?
How can we love the people that God loves if we are not willing to help? How can we say that we know our Creator? We have extravagant buildings and have expensive programs all just to keep the status quo, but we forget the kind of ministry that Jesus lead. We, as Christians, have associated Christ with apathy and disdain for those in need, but the life of Jesus sends a much different message. As I write this, I cannot help to cry and cry out for those who we are not helping and for those whom we have given the wrong message about Jesus.
I want to be in a position to help people (that’s another cop-out), but I have to follow Jesus to know how I can help now and in the future. As Empty Church grows as an organization, we will be able to help more people, but I have a personal responsibility to help who I can and help more than I think I can.
I personally want to strive to be in a place where if Jesus tells me to sell everything, give it all the poor, and follow Him that I would. I don't want to walk away disappointed.
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