The older I get, the more and more amazed I am at how God works in our lives. This last summer has been, in many ways, a very difficult summer due to some family health issues. Yet at the same time God has been really stirring my heart and causing me to look at my life from a different perspective. I'm finding that things I seldom gave much thought to now move me emotionally in a way the never used to.
God has really softened my heart to the plight of people living in extreme poverty and those suffering through tremendous atrocities like war, terrorism, and genocide and horrendous natural disasters like the recent hurricanes. It's much stronger than just even feeling sympathy for these people; it tends to weight very heavy on my heart. I'm still working through just exactly what it is God is doing and wrestling with why this has become such an emotional issue for me in the last few months, but I'm trying to respond when situations arise that give me the opportunity to do something to help however small it may be.
I feel stronger than I ever have that the church, especially in America, with all the resources that are available to us should be on the forefront of these issues. Yet we often get too wrapped up in our own lives to even give it a second thought. I am just as guilty of this as anyone else so I am not pointing a finger, but something needs to change. If we fail to help those truly in need, we have failed to keep the commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself. Jesus spent most of his ministry healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and loving people where they were at. I think about what I put my energies into and it's seldom any of those things.
At Cornerstone Music Festival this year, I was really challenged by this and, at the urging of my oldest daughter, we decided to start sponsoring a child through Compassion International in July and even though it's not much and it's only one child I feel that God will use it and who knows what impact one child could have.
I have also been presented with an opportunity to help support a documentary an acquaintance at my church is making on the subject of world poverty. The name of the project is called "Give a Damn?" and is currently in production. The filmmaker will be traveling through Africa trying to live on a dollar a day, which is the average daily wage in many third world countries. I would encourage everyone to visit their website at www.giveadamndoc.com for more information on this important film and please consider supporting this project.
The church's mission is to spread the gospel. But spreading the gospel is much more than preaching the salvation message. Our mandate is to care for the poor and suffering. God has truly blessed us in America, but we are called to be good stewards of his blessings and do all we can to care for those here and around the world that are in need. I pray that God would continue to work on all of our hearts and never stop challenging us.