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Plain and Simple for April 25, 2013
SoVaNow.com / April 25, 2013I confess that I am a lurker on Facebook. That means that, for the most part, I simply read what other people post and keep my own mouth shut. I am afraid that I will get caught up in some never-ending back and forth controversy if I ever state my true feelings on some issue, so I just keep my opinions to myself. I did see something a couple of weeks ago that just will not leave my mind, so I guess you are stuck with my commentary.
The general gist of this post, which was pre-packaged so that it could be forwarded to other people, was this: We are sending billions of dollars in aid to countries around the world. There are hungry and needy people right here in America. We propose that we do not send one more penny in foreign aid until we take care of all the people who need help here in America.
What has captivated my attention is that this is a variation of the attitude that one often encounters in the local church: We are talking about helping people, children, widows, orphans halfway around the world but we have needy people right down the street. Why don’t we take care of our own people, right here in the church and right here in our own city before we go gallivanting off around the globe?
At first glance, there is much to like about this position. There is no arguing the fact that we should not waste our money on unworthy endeavors in foreign policy or in foreign missions. Nor should we try to say that people right here in our own neighborhoods or in our own church do not deserve our attention. So what is wrong with these statements?
Oh, let me count the problems. First, people who argue this way almost never intend to alleviate the problems close to home; they simply want to avoid becoming entangled abroad. Second, what makes an American life more valuable to God or anyone else? Would we allow a child to starve when we have the capacity to save him simply because we have not gotten around to eliminating every pocket of poverty in America? Furthermore, God tells us in the Old Testament that we were once strangers in a strange land and we were taken care of; it is now our responsibility to never forget the stranger.
More to the point, closing yourself off into a club or fortress mentality kills giving of any kind. You will discover that those people and churches that give the most give to all people.
When you try to distinguish who gets your gift, you begin to dry up your soul and your impulse to help anyone.
No — it is important to be open to the needs of all people or you will find that you do not care about anyone.
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