Reading through my Google-alerts this morning and I came upon this wonderful item from Dr. Billy Graham as written in yesterday’s (Feb. 29, 08) Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper. One particular paragraph ( highlighted below) truly sums up why Christians need to be on poverty’s frontline.
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I know the Bible says we ought to help the poor, and I guess I agree with that, but can’t governments do this better than churches? It’ll take a lot of money to fight poverty in places such as Africa, for example, and churches simply don’t have that kind of money. — P. R.
DEAR P. R.: We sometimes forget that Jesus Himself was very poor, and so were His disciples. On one occasion, He said, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Luke 9:58).
After all, He could have chosen to come into this world as a rich man — for He was God, and the whole world belonged to Him. But He didn’t, and one reason was because He wanted to show His compassion for the whole human race, rich and poor alike. And if we are His followers we should have that same kind of compassion. Centuries before Christ was born, God commanded His people “to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land” (Deuteronomy 15:11).
I’m thankful for the work governments and others are doing to fight poverty and disease in many parts of the world; the task is too great for any one agency. But Christians should be in the forefront — and one reason is because they come with compassion, and with the good news of Christ’s power to change lives.
Pray for Christian groups that seek to bring Christ’s love and mercy to those who hurt. (My son Franklin’s organization, Samaritan’s Purse, is one of them.) And be generous in your giving. Above all, ask God to help you see the world the way He sees it, with all of its misery and despair — but also with hope in Christ.
I too applaud the efforts of our government to help in crisis situations, but without introducing folks to the saving power of Jesus Christ we risk merely making their lives more comfortable before they walk through the gates of hell.
Why give partially when we can give fully.