Sometimes I forget how well off I am. I look around and see all the things I don’t have and forget how rich I am. Seeing the fancy cars, houses, and entertainment systems that others have makes me feel poor. But the truth it, that I’m actually very well off in comparison to most people.
I have a good job, a nice house, and a new car. Sure my car isn’t as nice as those that some people have. And my house isn’t as big as the houses that some of my friends have. But the house is mine, and the car is practically new. Most people in the world don’t own their own house, and most people can’t afford a new car.
When I think about how well off I am, I feel ashamed at how ungrateful I can be. God has blessed me with so much, and yet most of the time I’m not satisfied with it. No matter how much I have, I always want more. The truth is, that I have way more than I really need. God has provided me with so much that I don’t even deserve.
What should be happening, is that I should be thanking God every day for what he’s given me. Because I’m truly blessed by God.
I’ve been really thinking about how fortunate I am. Actually everyone from the US is incredibly blessed. Sure, we have poor people and rich people. We have homeless people and we have people who are in bad shape financially. The difference is that even the worst of us are better off than people from most of the nations in this world.
In this country anyone who wants has a chance to become wealthy. If you make good decisions and work hard there is no reason not to expect you will someday retire with considerable wealth. Furthermore, anyone can be whatever they want to be. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, or if you are born into a trade or not. If you want to become something, you can do it. There isn’t anything holding you back.
I’m not saying everyone makes it. And I’m not saying that coming from a wealthy family doesn’t help. All I’m saying is that we all have a chance and we know it.
What would it be like to grow up somewhere that that isn’t true? A place where if you are born poor, you have no hope of ever being anything but poor for the rest of your life. Where you can’t be anything you want. That’s what it’s like in most of the rest of the world.
A lot of Christians make a distinction between service and evangelism. Service is ministering to the physical needs of people, whereas evangelism is ministering to the spiritual needs of people. That is spreading Jesus’ message to those who do not know God and are in need of His forgiveness.
Many Christians concentrate on one of the two and exclude the other. But that kind of behavior is not Biblical. Jesus, whose life is the example we should try to live by, did both. He ministered to the physical needs through the healing and feeding the poor. He also ministered to their spiritual needs. Preaching and teaching to anyone that he came in contact with. Furthermore He didn’t make any kind of distinction between the two in his earthly ministry.
Christians are commanded to minister to both the physical and the spiritual needs of people who are lacking.
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18
“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.” James 1:27
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” John 20:21
The modern church seems to have forgotten this. Current church leaders and pastors often preach and push evangelism, but rarely ever preach or put resources towards dealing with the physical needs of people. And when they do, they are usually only directed towards helping fellow Christians.
But that isn’t the way it is meant to be. Spiritual and physical assistance should go hand in hand. People need spiritual healing and redemption, but they also need to eat, and they need a place to sleep, and clothes to wear.
It is a sad thing that most of the aid organizations out there are mostly secular. Secular organizations are simply incapable of dealing with spiritual needs. And most missions organizations are only interested or capable of dealing with spiritual needs. People who are in desperate need of both physical and spiritual assistance can only get one or the other.
Secular organizations are only able to minister to one of the needs of the world. But the Church and Christians are in a unique position to be able to minister to both. Sadly we don’t take advantage of our ability. We squander our position and disobey the commandments by ignoring some needs in favor of others.