In light of the controversy surrounding the policy changes and then reversal at World Vision this week I have spent considerable time thinking through how people have been handling this news. I was surprised, not in seeing people come to the support of World Vision, but rather, how many of these people were reacting to those who were considering pulling their monthly support of this organization.
What I was reading via blogs and social media posts boiled down to this for me:
Christians have a duty to care for the widow and the orphan and pulling your support, no matter what World Vision does, is abandonment of the child you said you would support and shows you care more about theology than showing the love of Christ.
This shocked me. And not because it’s so blatantly polarizing and not because it felt like one of those lines in the sand, you’re with us or against us statements.
No, it shocked me because interwoven through all that verbiage and at the core of that bleeding and caring heart is this statement:
God can’t take care of his own.
I don’t know about you but that statement ticks me off. It makes my blood boil and my heart beat fast.
I don’t know about you but when I read the Bible I read about a Creator God. A God who, by the words of his mouth, spoke and what was nothing became something. I read about a God who not only created all that is and will ever be but who also sustains all that you see and experience today. I read about a God who has been and will be continually faithful to mankind even though we are never faithful to him. I read about a God who provides over and over again the simple needs that keep us alive while providing the supernatural, the miraculous, in order to bring about his will and show us how much he cares and loves us.
But I also read in this same book about man. This is the same man that turned his back on the provision of God and wanted to provide for himself. It’s the same man who tries to prove he’s worthy of redemption and that his self-made righteousness is good enough to redeem him from his wrong. It’s the same man that thought he was doing all the right things even though he was doing them for all the wrong reasons.
Here’s the rub. I’m upset. But I’m not upset at you. I get it. You have a huge heart and you desperately want to be the hands and feet of God to bring care and love and resources to those in need all over the world. And Jesus calls us to do this as we fulfill his mission to make disciples of all people, teaching them to obey his commandments.
So why am I upset?
I’m upset because you’ve been duped.
You’ve been told a lie that you’re more important than you really are. You’ve been fed a lie that tells you that this is the Gospel, that you being the hands of Christ and showing his tangible love through gift-giving is of the utmost importance.
Guess what? It’s not.
Is it important? Yes. It’s important that the Word of God is implanted in our minds but it can’t stay there. It must move to our hearts and overwhelm our emotions and compel us to action. This is what the Apostle James talks about when he says faith without works is dead.
But our works are not the Gospel. Jesus is the Gospel. He alone is the good news because it is he alone that saves, he alone that redeems, he alone that reconciles the broken relationship we have with God the Father.
If you’re upset because people might cancel their support and kids will starve what does that tell you about the God you worship?
It tells me one of two things.
- He’s an unmerciful God who lacks compassion.
- He’s a God who lacks power and can’t even take care of his own.
The Bible tells us different.
In the Old Testament we see the people of Israel wandering in a desert, escapees from Egypt who are beginning to starve with no food source in sight. And what does God do? He sends down food from the skies called manna. Food from the skies? Maybe skies in Hebrew is translated as America in English?
Yeah, but this is 2014. God doesn’t do that anymore.
Hmmm. Maybe your God is a teddybear and not really a God? He’s all soft and cozy but can’t really do much but sit on your bed and wait for your affection.
That’s not the God I serve. Because the God I serve can do whatever he pleases whenever he wants to. You know why? Because he’s God. He’s the Creator and Sustainer of all life. All of the money you send to World Vision is given to you because he’s gracious and loving. All of the food and resources World Vision sends around the globe happens because God wills it and allows it.
But if I stop my $30 check to World Vision the children won’t eat. Maybe. But if so, it’s because God deems it so.
That’s too bold, Seth.
Because I seem to recall some words Jesus spoke about not being anxious in life. Something about not worrying what you will eat or drink or what you’ll wear. Something about how God cares for the birds in the air and the lilies of the field and how these do not compare to the treasure we are to our Father God.
But you go on being upset at people for caring about theology over practicality. You go on thinking God cares more about your efforts than he does about his holiness. You go on in the vain attempts of earning your salvation through all your good works and compelling Facebook and Twitter posts.
I just hope you’ll look up soon enough to see the finished work of Jesus on the cross. I hope you’ll see that when he said “It is finished” it wasn’t a pithy Christian statement but rather, a declaration, a proclamation of eternal truth.
Feed the poor? Give hope to the hopeless? By all means yes. But never think that your efforts are truly needed. Your efforts are a response to the finished work of Jesus Christ he so graciously bestows upon you as his free gift of grace.
Jesus isn’t nice.
He is loving.
He is caring.
He is compassionate.
And he is holy.
And his Word is unchangeable. He’s not looking for an editor. He’s looking for broken hearts and bended knees.
And trust him. He’ll take care of his own.