Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Justice, Kindness and Humility

I don’t know about you, but I feel kind of overwhelmed by the news these days. A cyclone in Myanmar, an earthquake in China, tens of thousands of people killed – probably over 100,000 before all is said and done. And these are just the most devastating disasters being reported. On CNN.com, the article on China’s earthquake contains a video link that says, “Watch workers dig out the body of small child at the site of a collapsed school in China.” My reaction is, “No, I’m sorry, but I don’t I don’t want to watch that. I will not watch it.” And like so many others, I want to shield myself from the pain.

But God calls us to something nobler than that. We as God’s people should not be shielding our eyes from the needs of the nations. Certainly we must pray – pray for help to come quickly and for lives to be saved. That’s good, but if we stop there, we fall short. When people are suffering, God calls His people to action. “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the L
ORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?”” (Micah 6:8). Justice, kindness, humility. This requirement was not aimed at some specialized band of aid workers in the Israel of Micah’s day. It was spoken to God’s people in general. And Jesus didn’t hesitate to reinforce it. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus describes the difference between those who go to heaven and those who go to hell as being how they responded to the poor. In other words, helping the needy is still required of God’s people.

Fast-forward to today, and it’s easy to see that North American Christians have been blessed with enormous resources. Personally, this sobers me. And it leaves me periodically asking myself: As one of the richest people on the planet (my family income level places me in the top 1%), what am I doing with the abundant wealth God has given me? Am I sharing it when I hear that the destitute are experiencing such catastrophes? My assumption in this is that the abundance God has given me is for others beside me and my own. It’s for more than my CDs and DVDs, my Starbucks and my stereos, my internet shopping and my impulse purchases. If I need to change my lifestyle so that I’ve got resources to share, I’d better figure that out, for God expects obedience in this. And as we can become conduits of the blessings God has given us, then the world will surely see “justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” from the people of God (Amos 5:24).

I do understand that nobody can afford to make a meaningful donation to help with every catastrophe that happens in this world. But if we decide in our hearts to be generous, and listen for God’s Spirit to prompt us, we will provide justice and kindness where it is needed and God will bless us for our obedience (Isaiah 58:10-12).

© 2008 by Ken Peters

1 comment:

Ken said...

Thank you to everyone at Gateway who gave so generously to the needs in Myanmar! The total counted at Gateway Panet was $2,392.86!