Thursday, April 14, 2016

Why isn't that Christian Giving to the Poor?

There is a wrong reaction that too many people, believers and unbelievers alike, have to the spiritual disciplines of Christians. Someone prays a lot, reads the Bible a lot, or memorizes scripture, and so people, fueled by jealousy and conviction, say "why don't they go serve the poor!?" Yet if the same Christian spent their free time watching Netflix, they'd have no complaints! Why is this?

I think the Bible has an answer, because Judas had the same complaint about a Christian. When someone wanted to honor and serve Christ Himself with a perfume to make him smell good in a time when people didn't smell so good in general, Judas asked this, "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." Wow Judas, you're so spiritual! You care about the poor so much! Well, maybe he did care about the poor a bit, but the next scripture says he asked this because he used to grab some extra money for himself in the coin box. Not only did he want money, but he couldn't understand the affection and love for God that drives people to give directly to Him, in our case to give time to pray and read the Bible consistently! This gets to the heart of things, because most of the time people's problem with a Christian being holy just points to a lack of holiness in the people themselves. Maybe there is a bit of concern for the poor there, but the way they use money themselves is for mainly selfish things anyway. We ought to examine ourselves if we are looking for an area where they are less holy, because that could be a sign of jealousy or some other sin.

Please don't misunderstand my point though, because a true Christian practices all spiritual disciplines, including serving the poor with their time and/or money. One really good organization I can recommend is run by a brother I know who will not misuse funds. So I'd encourage you to check out Thirsty Ground International if you want to help a Christian in the Middle East serving Syrian refugees with the Gospel and physical needs.