Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Children and Charity

A few comments made on posts recently bring up a question that might need answered. People have wondered if our longing for heaven -- specificaly my "I'm just a passin' through" attitude -- would lead us to forgo charity and good works down here. The theory goes like this: if we are waiting for heaven to come at another place and time we will not be working hard to make earth a better place. Those who believe that fear that we will tell the poor, the slaves, or the downtrodden to wait for heaven; that Jesus will make it all better somewhere over there.

Sorry, but that doesn't follow. I won't deny some might think that way, but most Christians don't. Find charitable works anywhere on the planet and you will find that the majority of them are founded by, staffed by, and funded by Christians. Look at the roots of anti-slavery movements of the 19th century and today and you will see Christians at the helm. Every spear thrown at worldwide injustice -- with a few exceptions -- finds Christians at the pointy-bit.

And most of those Christians believe that this earth will pass away one day; that it is temporary. So do I. I know some loyal readers of this blog think God will remodel and remake this planet, but I don't. Not that I care. He can do what He wants to. I just can't find any evidence in Scripture that this planet or our cosmos was supposed to be permanent. God wasn't caught by surprise when we sinned and messed up everything. He knew all about it before He launched His plan and that's what makes His love so overwhelming.

So why, if this world is temporary, do Christians work so hard to help people? (Yes, yes, I know that some professional critics will slander the whole of the church as uncaring, ungiving, materialistic, shiny happy people but that is not my experience).
I think we work so hard to fix things and fix people BECAUSE we think it's temporary and we are moving on. Got money? Got stuff? Give it away, dude, because it's going away anyway! See people who are suffering or people who don't know the Lord? Get moving on that, buddy, because the cosmic clock is ticking and nobody gets to see how much time is left on the calendar.

So go on missions, give to the poor, bring people into your home and show them hospitality, hug a kid and let go of your stuff. Get packing for the big trip, guys, because God's bus is parked somewhere outside and He's coming for us in His own time. Endtimes? I don't know if these are the last days or not. More than that: I don't care. Why should it change the way I live if I think the world is going to end tomorrow? I should be living as if things are temporary anyway because... they are.

This evening we have the team from Invisible Children coming to our church. Josh Graves (www.joshgraves.blogspot.com) and I did a presentation of the situation in Northern Uganda and the work of Invisible Children last October, but we wanted to do more. The team pulled up in their RV yesterday and we will show the documentary tonight to a full house and encourage them to give and then DO SOMETHING to stop the horrible mistreatment of children that is ongoing in Africa. If you haven't gone to invisiblechildren.com and seen the trailers, do so now, buy the DVDs and show them to everybody you can.

Yes, this world is temporary. But that's no excuse for quitting! Get to work. Clock's ticking, you know?

6 Comments:

At 3/15/2006 11:27:00 AM , Blogger David U said...

Great post, my brother! We have the Invisible Children folks coming to Harding next month. We hope to have a packed house in the Benson Auditorium for their presentation. Let me know how their visit goes there at Rochester.

DU

 
At 3/15/2006 08:14:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello. we just did a search on invisible children and found your blog. it's great to see that people all over the country are supporting the cause.
shalom
(from 2 rhode islanders)

 
At 3/16/2006 08:50:00 AM , Blogger Mark said...

It is nice to see one of the beautiful people not buying in to postmodern eschatology. Good post, Patrick - and brave!

 
At 3/16/2006 09:27:00 AM , Blogger Bill said...

Thank you for bringing this need to center stage. May the efforts you highlight be fruitful. May those in such dire need be helped. May we continue the legacy of caring demonstrated by Jesus and others who walk in His steps.

One of the most generous and heavenly minded Christ-followers I know has a philosophy about this world and the things we accumulate in this world. He often says, “It’s all gonna’ burn!”

His is no morbid fixation of end-times events. Instead, it seems that he simply has an appreciation for why he is entrusted with so much stuff in the here and now. He daily lives into the vision for our lives articulated by Jesus: It is more blessed to give than to receive.

 
At 3/16/2006 09:37:00 AM , Blogger Cheetah, the cheetah said...

Yes! Yes! Yes!

I've never seen a hearse with a luggage rack.

 
At 4/05/2006 01:15:00 PM , Anonymous Michael Morris said...

Hi there,

a very nice blog! Btw, if you have time please take a look at our website www.breadforkids.org - We are helping poor children in Ecuador and are seeking for sponsors.

Thanks and God bless you!
Michael

 

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