From pondering this, I began to think about the purpose of the work of the church outside of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My thoughts drifting to how we, as a church, worry too much about things that do not matter in the light of eternity. It's a shameful testimony for any church to spend money on things the 1st century church would have never dreamed of having while ignoring the homeless, poor, and people hurting in our community. These 1st century followers of Christ were called Christian by people observing their sacrifice, good works, and helping the poor. I want to go over some of my thoughts and I sincerely hope that it shames some people into dropping all the "fluff" from the church and truly look at what Jesus wanted us to do.
Luke 3:10-14 (NASB)
3:10 And the crowds were questioning him, saying, "Then what shall we do?"
11 And he would answer and say to them, "The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise."
12 And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, "Teacher, what shall we do?"
13 And he said to them, "Collect no more than what you have been ordered to."
14 Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, "And what about us, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages."
I am by no means a Pharisee or legalist, I just want to start off by making this statement. I was not raised in church and what I see is disturbing. I see churches spending millions on childrens' buildings, spending millions on new buildings, spending tens of thousands of dollars every Sunday on excellent music and fancy light shows, worrying about the new stain glass windows, debating the new carpet, spending money to print nice service guides, preaching on wearing Sunday's best, taking up funds for a new gym, pastors making hundreds of thousands of dollars, etc...,but what about the outreach to help the poor? I'm not talking about token outreach programs like filling food banks a few times a year, etc... I'm talking about taking a serious step to show the community the love of Jesus in deed. I know what some may be thinking about me, but that's alright because you may be the person who needs to hear what I am saying. It's shameful that we sat in nice air conditioned buildings every week, spending the donations to the church to make us comfortable, and getting all bent out of shape if the AC breaks Sunday morning when it's going to be 102 in SC, BUT we never stop to think about the family about to be evicted and hungry. We never think about the mother on the street pondering sinful acts to feed her child. So many times, we set up our religion, as a token of care by saying ,"but we have list to show these people where they can get help, we work with charity groups, etc..." I SAY SHAME ON YOU! SHAME! Instead of depending on private groups outside of the church to provide this help, why do we not pick up the pace? Are we really following Jesus when He said that if we have two coats to give our brother one? Did Jesus say anything about this person in need being a member of our church? Did Jesus say to petition the government for help? Did Jesus say to depend on other charities for help? No, Jesus told US to GIVE!
I know not all churches are guilty of what I have written. I personally have received and witnessed many blessings from Christians and their churches to those in need even when they never knew the people in need personally. This is the work of the church, and being on the other side of need has taught me the truth behind Jesus's words and actions. So please, if you are one of these people who strive to help the poor this blog was not for you. This blog is for the churches that worry about excellence, expensive services and turning a blind-eye to the greater things they could be doing with their wealth instead of blowing it on junk that does not breath a single breath of life. What about spending that money on people instead of the light show?
Back to my friend, it really pained me to see her suffer and knowing there is very little I can do for her. It pains me even more to know the church she attends could easily help her and many others "IF" they would stop worrying about the needy twin whores of excellence and relevance instead of following Jesus' example to truly do the work of the church and help the poor. These twins bring shame upon the name of the Lord because they lead the church to a place where Jesus never wanted it to go.
May God have mercy on America where we neglect his people all because we are too worried about the service, the AC, the music, the light show, the carpet, our dress standards, our nice big expensive buildings, our gyms, our printed hymn books, our in church coffee shops, etc... while the poor suffer! May God convict us all. In America, we do not know what it means to suffer as a church and I pray that God wakes us all up before He says,"enough is enough" and we all feel how displeased God is with us for our selfish actions.
James 2:14-21 (NASB)
2:14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
18 But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."
19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?