Sunday, August 24, 2008

I've Become a Humanitarian

I'm reading this wonderful book that somehow I acquired called Revolution in World Missions. It is written by a man with the name of K.P. Yohannan, a native of India. He is the founder and international director for Gospel for Asia. His words are so convicting! Picture this:
Its Friday morning and I'm sitting at the front desk of the Administration and Finance office at Sonoma State University. I'm the new Student Assistant, which really means that I just sit around and direct people to go somewhere if they come in. Needless to say, there is a lot of down time and I'm allowed to read if there is nothing for me to do.

I pick up the words of K.P. Yohannan, and find my eyes soon being stung by tears. He writes,
"Substituting a bowl of rice for the Holy Spirit and the Word of God will never save a soul and will rarely change the attitude of a man's heart. We will not even begin to make a dent in the kingdom of darkness until we life up Christ with all the authority, power, and revelation that is given to us in the bible...Thailand owes to missionaries its widespread literacy, first printing press, first university, first hospital, first doctor and almost every other benefit of education and science. In every area, including trade and diplomacy, Christian missionaries put the needs of the host nation first and helped usher in the 20th Century. Meanwhile, millions have slipped into eternity without the Lord. They have died more educated, better governed and healthier-but they died without Christ and they are bound for hell."

Ouch. I realized that my heart for doing good works and compassion projects was for the betterment of humanity, not for the spreading of the gospel. If a woman dies with her belly full of rice and yet without the Lord, what good have I really done? I have forgotten to include Jesus and the saving grace in my daily life. I have overlooked the eternal needs of the men and women around me only to be blinded by the overwhelmingly large task of their physical needs. A man on his deathbed will still listen to the news of Jesus if he is hungry. Perhaps it is not physical food that he hungers for, rather food of the Spirit. A dying man can be brought into new life.
Now I do not believe that meeting people's physical needs is a bad thing. It is a great thing to be educated and with a full belly and clothes on your back. Its also good to help people gain these things for themselves as well. But when I have the saving knowledge of Christ crucified and raised again and yet do not give it, then what good have I really done?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah, LOVE.

While we were in McDermitt, Mallory told us a story she had heard about a young girl whose family was talking to their pastor after church one Sunday. Upon being asked if she had enjoyed the sermon, they little girl replied that she had. When asked why, she said, "Well, it was just like the one last week: blah, blah, blah, love."
The insight of this girl intrigued me. I once was listening to a sermon from a man named Gil Stigleitz. In this sermon he told the congregation that if they walk away from a sermon and fail to love better, then it was as if they had slept through church.
Something that I've been asking the Lord to show me for a long time is to do this: to follow His commandment to love Him and His people. But it wasn't until recently that I realized that if I keep praying this, I will continually be challenged by those whom he places in my life specifically to answer this prayer.
If I ask for lessons on love, then will not the Lord place those who he knows are hard to love in my life? He will continually be humbling me and showing me the ceaseless love that He has and encouraging me to do the same; free of judgement, resentment, and selfishness. I've found that it is impossible to love without humility and a deep understanding of grace.