Today is Blog Action Day and this year the topic is poverty.  If you have a blog I want to encourage you to get involved.

Scripture is loaded with admonitions to help those who are in need.  James is particularly pointed:

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead, (James 2:14-17, ESV).

I want to pick on my fellow evangelicals.  Far too often we focus so much on sharing the gospel that we neglect meeting physical needs.  Now hear me out.  I’m an evangelist.  I am a committed disciplemaker.  I have also seen working with high-risk youth time and time again conservative evangelicals who are excited about chaplaincy ministries, but lose that enthusiasm when it comes to mentoring since it doesn’t focus on evangelism (though that can be a byproduct).

People often times need to have felt needs (clothing, hunger, need for adult relationships) before they will respond to unfelt needs (salvation).  I am not lifting up one over the other, but rather a “both and” circumstance.  Evangelism without social justice in circumstances where it is warranted seems cold and cruel.  Social justice without evangelism is humanistic and lacks power.

Jesus did not divorce social justice from the Great Commission.  He was quite clear that as followers of Christ we are to reach out to “the least of these.”

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me,'” (Matthew 25:31-40, ESV).

What can we do?  Here are some resources you can check out.  I also have some ideas.

  • In the side bar of my main page I have a widget for Compassion International.  You can sponsor a child for as little as $32 a month.
  • With World Vision you can sponsor a child for $30 a month, sponsor a “Hope Child” (a child affected by the AIDS pandemic) for $35/month, or even sponsor a family for $40/month.
  • With Kiva you can make loans to a specific entrepreneur in the developing world which will empower them to lift themselves out of poverty.
  • Help provide clean water for African villages through Blood Water Mission.
  • If you are in Iowa, in particular in the Des Moines area, you can lend a hand to Hope Ministries which reaches out to the homeless in Des Moines.
  • There is also Kids Against Hunger which helps with short term hunger needs.  Your area may have a local branch where you can actually go and help package the food as well.

While I don’t agree with everything Rob Bell teaches I do find this video inspirational in getting us to think about how blessed we are as a nation and how little it would really take to make an impact.  Let’s do something about this.

This post is part of Blog Action Day 08 – Poverty

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