This post was inspired by a statement Werner made in the film, Bereaved. At one point in the film, everyone is gathered around Nathalie’s van debating an important decision. The outcome of the decision is exciting and dramatic, after which Werner (with a huge smile on his face and tears in his eyes) says, “This is what we do!”
But Why do we do what we do? The Bible commands us as believers to care for the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed; here are a few verses that highlight this expectation:
– 1:22…Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
– 1:27…Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
– 2:14, 15, 17…What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well. Keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
– 21:13…If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.
– 22:2, 9, 16, 22-23…Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all…A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor…He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich-both come to poverty…Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will plunder those who plunder them.
When we shared with friends and family why I was going to Uganda, several folks asked (and others have probably thought) “You don’t have to go all the way to Africa, or outside the city of Atlanta for that matter, to care for the needy, the poor, the widows and orphans. Why not spend your time and money here at home if you want to do something good?”
Very true indeed and a great question as well. I think the answer is simple – God doesn’t present us with an “either / or” decision but rather a “both / and” expectation. We are called to serve those in need, period… both in our own backyard and abroad. We serve locally and to the ends of the earth for His glory.
When God has laid something in our path and on our hearts we respond and our response knows no boundaries. He moved heaven and earth to redeem His people by offering up His only Son. How could I not respond to this call? Because it’s in Uganda? As if that would be a legitimate reason. Going forth in His service is an honor and a privilege whether it’s in Uganda or Atlanta or anywhere else.
So “Why do we do what we do?” “Why do we go to Africa when there is so much need in Atlanta?” The answer is simple… God has placed a burden on our hearts for these vulnerable children that cannot be ignored. We cannot (we will not) say, “‘Go, I wish you well. Keep warm and well fed'” and then live our lives as if we didn’t witness one of the most reprehensible injustices that occur on this planet every day. That is not an option for us.
Admittedly, we can’t address all the issues of poverty and injustice in this world. But that is the beauty of the Body of Christ. We all serve in the capacity and place which He has given us. Ours is here.
David and Judd