A dear friend, Lynn Mosher, over at Heading Home has been doing a wonderful series, How To Behave Like a Christian, based on Romans 12:9-21. She graciously asked me (and other bloggers) to guest post. So today and next week, I'll be sharing over there. Please check out today's post on "sharing with God's people who are in need" based on Romans 12:13a, and leave Lynn a comment.
“distributing to the needs of the saints,” Rom 12:13a NKJV
My 2 children have traveled the world on various short term mission trips for the last 9 years. This year’s trips have had perhaps the most profound impact of all their trips. After seeing a school in Uganda without a blackboard, my daughter’s team decided rather than simply purchase one, they’d try to raise awareness in their community of friends. The goal was to raise $100. They raised over $1000. Another girl, after seeing the bleeding feet of barefoot children, is working with Tom’s shoe company to donate shoes to children in Haiti. My son wants start a ministry to raise support for impoverished children to attend school. These youth have been called to “distribute to the needs of the saints.”
Since their trips, I have found myself “accidentally meditating.” A lyric from a favorite worship song, Hosanna, is just stuck in my head. “Break my heart for what breaks Yours…” Over 60 years ago, Dr. Bob Pierce prayed similar words: “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” In 1947, as a war correspondent and evangelist, he traveled to China with Youth for Christ, and his heart was broken by the needs of one little girl. Pledging a monthly sponsorship for her, Dr. Bob Pierce began World Vision to help children orphaned in the Korean War. In the decades that followed, World Vision has fulfilled the calling of Romans 12:13a “Share with God’s people who are in need” by providing global relief using clean water as an entry point into communities, following with other activities that create change and ultimately bring transformation through the gospel.
Last Christmas, our family participated in the Advent Conspiracy and substituted gifts for each other with the purchase clean water, sewing machines, a stocked fishing pond and a flock of sheep for those in need overseas. And closer to home, we take part in our church’s homeless ministry that meets the needs of men from a local Christian shelter.
All these ministries seek to meet the needs of those in need. But there are many NON-Christians who also care for the poor, who sacrifice life and limb to live in impoverished nations, who serve in the Peace Corps, the military, the inner cities, Indian reservations, homeless shelters, safe houses for abused…
As my meditation continued on what breaks God’s heart, I began to realize some other things, some personal things that break His heart. I silently but loudly heard His question to me: You can love people around the world, but can you love the person sitting next to you?
What breaks God’s heart? Not just children dying in Africa. I realized that it breaks God’s heart when my attitudes and actions represent the enemy more than they represent Him. While we need to care for the “least of these,” we ought not to do it out of obligation and then have Him say, “I never knew you.” (Matt.25) It grieves God when His people act like they don’t know Him. He’s not as grieved by sinners who act like sinners as He is by Christians who act like sinners. If we meet the physical needs of the poor, but are judgmental, critical, envious, prideful, angry, or filled with false Pharisee holiness, we are not obeying His call to holy living.
If we truly want to love our neighbor as ourselves, that includes loving the unlovely. “If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Any sinner does that. … In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you." (Matt. 5:48 MSG)
As Christians, we must “share with God’s people who are in need.” And we must do so with the assurance that as we do, we are ministering to Jesus Himself. “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me!’ Matt. 25:35-40 NLT
My prayer today is found in the surrounding lyrics of “Hosanna”: