Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Great Book


Micah and I have been reading this book, "The Hole In our Gospel," written by Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision. As many of you know, who know us personally, we have become deeply burdened in the past year to care for those who are poor and vulnerable in this world. It's become apparent to us in recent months how "invisible" the Church (of America) us when it really comes to reaching out to "the least of these," and it's our desire to advocate for this to change. This statistic astonished me:

"American Christians, who make up about 5% of the Church worldwide, control about half of global Christian wealth...the commitment that American Christians, the wealthiest Christians in all history, are making to the world is just about 2% of 2%, about five ten-thousdandths of our income (ie - 6 pennies per person per day)." (Stearns)

I encourage you to read this book. It's a great story about Richard Stearns own journey to becoming the President of World Vision, and will compel you to think deeply about the hurting world we live in, and what role each us might play in that. Micah and I are praying about these things now, we are asking God to show us what kinds of things we can do, both on a small-scale, and maybe eventually on a larger-scale. The idea is not for anybody to feel guilty that poverty exists, but the idea is instead that we might not ignore those living in deep poverty simply because they live on another continent. In this day and age, the world is so connected... no longer can we say, "I just didn't know it was that bad."

Just imagine if you were born in Africa, instead of here in America, and due to no fault of your own, you and your children are haven't eaten in days and do not have clean water to drink. Your children are sick - with diseases that will eventually take their lives. No, not cancer, I'm talking about an illness such as diarreah. Your only hope is to cling to God and daily pray that He will send help, that He will save your family. I believe many of us here in America, ARE the help. We are the answers to so many prayers, and yet most often we just don't take the time to really consider what is happening on the other side of our globe, much less consider that we could actually make a difference.

Are we listening? Are we willing? Lives are at stake... "15,000 Africans are dying each day of preventable treatable diseases... if we're honest there's no way we could conclude that such mass death day after day would ever be allowed to happen anywhere else. Certainly not in North America, Europe, or Japan. An entire continent bursting into flames? Deep down, if we really accept that their lives - African lives - are equal to ours, we would all be doing more to put the fire out. It's an uncomfortable truth." (Stearns)

"If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the drakness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." (Isaiah 58:10-11)

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40)

Please join us in praying and considering what all of us can do to make a difference and help our brothers and sisters around the world. Remember the Starfish story? Never fail to take action because you don't think you can make a difference. :) The problems may seem big, but we serve a God who is bigger.





3 comments:

  1. Good thoughts Bethany. I realize at times in the church there's an argument that an organization like World Vision is only meeting the physical needs of people and not fulfilling the Great Commission to make disciples. The implication being that they save the body but don't misguide resources from the mission of preaching the gospel. This book really tackled that question/argument. Just 2 thoughts about it:

    1) The work of being salt and light to the world is a work of meeting needs, and preaching the gospel. How does one gain entrance into a community of non-believers to be heard? Missional work taking care of real physical needs is a bridge building endeavor that opens the door for the message of forgiveness through Jesus.

    2) How do we as Christians respond the the fact that other Christians around the globe are part of those who are dying of preventable needs? How does this line up with Paul's charge to the Church that those who have plenty would meet the needs of those believers who are wanting? (2 Corinthians 8:1-14)

    3) (I lied: 3 thoughts) How are we supposed to read Matthew 25:31-46) and not feel like this matters immensely to Jesus.

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  2. very powerful. i am definitely going to check out that book.

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  3. I've put in on my Shelfari.com bookshelf so maybe others will see it there and want to read it. Our library system doesn't have it yet.

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