Missionary vs Humanitarian


Feeding the hungry, and taking a humanitarian stance on helping people in the world.

OR

Feeding people spiritually and showing them that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world.

Which one of these is more critical?  Which one of these would Jesus value more?  Well we see in the Bible, that Jesus spent a lot of time talking about how we should feed the hungry, help the widows and those who cannot take care of themselves.  We also see in the Bible that Jesus told his disciples that they should go into all the world proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ and that they should make disciples.

In the last few years, I have run into a conflict.  I have heard Christian humanitarians say: “you cannot tell the truth of Jesus to those who are dead, so we should feed the hungry and be humanitarians.”  I have also heard Christian missionaries say: “What good is it if they are fed only to die later without hearing the good news of Jesus Christ.”

But to be honest with you, I believe that humanitarians and missionaries are not very different at all.  Why is it that they have to be separate?  I know of many organizations that do both, and I am very glad that they are, but I still hear about these conflicts between humanitarians and missionaries.

The church, which is the people who love and follow God do not need to be separate on this view.  The Bible, especially in Paul’s writing, calls the Christians to live in unity.  Paul writes that every believer is given different spiritual gifts, and that every spiritual gift works to further the kingdom of God.  Why is it that we argue the question of humanitarian or missionary?

This is my view.  I believe that the humanitarian should go to whatever country they go to and feed, love, give, and take care of anyone and everyone that needs it.  Providing this help is what Jesus wants them to do.  When they provide this help, when they connect with those people, they will be presented with opportunity to tell those people why they decided to go help. And then, they can explain that it is because of the love of God, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that they have come to give of themselves.  I believe that the missionary should go to whatever country they go to, and tell about Jesus and work as hard as they can to show Christ’s love in every situation.  And then, when those people are in need of food, or shelter, that missionary can become the humanitarian and provide what they need.  The humanitarian is also a missionary.  The missionary is also a humanitarian.

There does not need to be a conflict between these two positions.  God has called both the humanitarian and missionary to be witnesses of the true love and power of Jesus Christ.

-Zachary

The Great Surgeon


It’s bright. The light right above me, shines directly into my eyes. Around me they’re dressed in all white. Each one wears a mask over their mouth and nose; as to not catch my horrid disease. I lay still. The table upon which I lay is made of cold steel. My naked torso shivers as I lay. No one speaks, not even I. I have seen this room before; unfortunately, too many times. I am afraid. What shall He say? Will there be hope?

Then, He enters. He too wears white. But unlike the others, His authority is proclaimed in every step He takes toward the operating table. He does not wear a mask, there is no need. In His right hand, he holds a scalpel. So sharp there is no tissue that can withstand.

“I see you have a disease.” He says.

“Yes I do. I don’t know what to do.” I say in an unsure voice.

“Well there is hope.” He answers, as if He knew what I was thinking.

I don’t reply.  I have heard these words before, but somehow, I’ve left this table only to be right back in the same position; diseased.

He marks the spot upon my skin in which He will make the incision.  Right above where my heart beats.  Beating, yes!  Quite fast!

He makes the proper incisions, and removes the disease.  I am awake during the surgery, He wants me to see the work He is doing.  There is no speaking while he operates, and just like that, the last stitches are implanted into my chest. It’s over.

“It is finished.” He explains. “Your disease is no more, but stay in touch!”

“I will.” I answer.

I get up from the table, and quietly walk out of the room.  He stays in the room, preparing the table for the next patient.  At that, I leave the Great Surgeon to fix whoever else is in need of an operation.

Getting Closer


In my evangelism class, we were shown a video.  Here is that video:

The video shows a man with a certain handicap, and the only way that he is able to get people to show him affection, is by dressing up in this costume.  This video made me think, and from it, I bring you this blog post- Getting Closer

I think there is a lot that we as a society can bring away from this video, but, I’d like to expand it to a Christian dilemma. This man felt that he had to put on a full costume, and a mask to find affection.  From this video, I decided that he never did talk, but only spread his arms open; asking for closeness.

I think this means a lot to the Christian community.  Many Christians and non-Christians alike feel this same way.  They have sinned, as I have, and feel a lack of love from Christ followers.  They feel like the Christians around them won’t accept them for who they are.  Because of this, they put on a full costume.  From their head to toes, they wrap themselves in something that is more aesthetic to the eyes.  They know that they will be judged, and pushed away by the church, so they don’t allow their brokenness to be seen.  Furthermore,  they don’t speak- meaning they don’t allow themselves to unravel the hurt they are holding in.  They fear judgment and humiliation, when what they really need is someone to take the time to show them that God loves them no matter what they have been through.  Like I have said in previous posts, Jesus did not ask us to judge others, nor humiliate them.  He asked us to show them mercy.  There are multiple accounts in the Bible when Jesus talks about love and mercy, but there is no account of Jesus asking us to judge and humiliate each other.

God’s church is God’s followers.  A true follower of Jesus Christ will not push someone away because of what they have done.  No true Christ follower will avoid someone because of their past.  Christ did not push us away.  Jesus did not only hang out with the righteous.

In Matthew 9, Jesus is being rebuked by the teachers of law and the religious leaders for eating with tax collectors.  In their day, anyone who valued their reputation with the religious leaders would not have sat at the same table as a tax collector-they were viewed as sinners. Here is the passage.

Matthew 9:9-13 (NLT)  As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth.  “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him.  So Matthew got up and followed him.  10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners.  11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”  12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do.”  13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’  For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

We see here that God undoubtedly valued personal affection towards those who were sinners.  He did this not for personal gain, but so that they would know that Jesus was able to forgive them of whatever they had committed in their life.  That’s the same now.  Jesus calls us to reach out to the broken.  He asks us to love and show mercy.  If we are God’s people, why do we prick our noses up towards others in our own righteousness?  Righteous?  Really?  Nobody is righteous!  Only Jesus is righteous.  And because Christ showed us love and mercy, even in our brokenness, we too are called to show love and mercy. Get closer!  When you truly care about others and show them love, no matter how broken they are, then, and only then, are you getting closer.

Doors


I’m in a room full of doors. The room is circular, and all around me are doors. Everyone of them are the same; except one. The one door that differs from the others is shut. Every other door is open, and I hesitate. Every open door leads to a destination that I’ve already visited. The closed door though, is one that looks familiar, but I’ve never been able to actually step through it.  This one door, is made of mohagony wood, and looks brand new.  Unlike the other doors, this one stands out.  Every similar door is molding, rotten, and looks rough. I can’t seem to understand why, during my whole life, I’ve walked through the rotten doors, but haven’t been able to do the same with the mohagony door.  Every time I’ve gone through the molding doors, they all seem to lead right back to the same place; this room.  I mean, that’s how I got here anyways, by taking one of the rotten doors.  So here I am, a room full of doors.  This time I walk up to the mohagony wood, and turn the door handle.  It’s locked, and won’t budge.  I step back towards the center of the room, and right as I am about to choose one of the open doors, I get an idea.  I make my way to the mohagony door, and knock three times.  Firm knocks, I don’t want them to be unheard.  The door opens promptly, and standing there is a man.

“Are you ready now?”  He asks.

“Ready?”  I ask, as if I don’t know what He is talking about.

“Are you ready to start the journey?”

“Yes,” I answer, “yes I would love to take on this journey with you.”

He backs up to let me in.  “Then come on in, there is much for me to show you!”

 

Follow, Following, Followers!


Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about how it’s a bad thing to be a follower.  I’ve heard: “you’re a follower”, and “you don’t make your own decisions”.  These comments haven’t been pointed directly towards me, but they’ve been aimed at one of my friends.  Well I would like to explain to you today, the ways a person should be a follower, and why we as a society are naturally followers.

First of all, what is the definition of a follower?  The Merriam-Webster dictionary had two good definitions for it.  1. “one that imitates another”  2. “one that chases”.  We see that in the Bible, the apostles were, by definition, followers.  They not only followed Jesus around,  but they left their lives behind to follow someone who had changed their point of view, and their life.  Simon Peter was a fisherman, and when Jesus asked him to leave his work and follow, Simon dropped everything and left it all behind.  From then on, he followed Jesus everywhere he went, and followed His teaching until the day he died.  That’s the kind of follower we all should be.  I use this example of Jesus because that’s a big part of my life.  But it could be anything, from a war starting where you have to take sides, or a humanitarian crisis where you are urged by your own conviction to take action.  I recently joined the Invisible Children group at Liberty University.  From day one in the group I have been working with them to spread the word and to raise money for the rehabilitation center we are trying to build in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  This is the kind of following we should be doing.

Our society is also a follower society, but most of the time, it’s not in a healthy way.  The person calling my friend a follower is also very much so a follower.  He thinks he isn’t because he is on leadership, but he is, and I’ll tell you why.  Our society as a whole is following.  We have become so interested in what others believe that when something new comes out, or something nice is available, we want it.  We follow trends on the market because we want others to accept us.  We follow politicians, advertisers, social media, television, music, and many others.  I’m not trying to put any of these down, but I do think we need to take a step back and realize exactly who and what we follow.  Just like on twitter, there’s the follow button.  I myself am on twitter so follow me @pinkpanther1122.  Haha but I want to warn you, before clicking that button to follow, think about the pros and cons.  Why are you wanting to follow a politician, why is this trend in clothing a good choice for you, and why should you allow yourself to listen to this music group.  Many times we listen or watch, or follow specific things that go against our own value system.  Don’t follow blindly, and don’t be persuaded into something you know you shouldn’t be doing.  I must admit, this has happened to me more than once, and later I reap the consequences.  But I want to urge you to think about the decisions you take, and the messages you follow and associate your name with.  While wearing a certain brand isn’t a big deal, following a certain politician is.  You can’t stand with someone that doesn’t believe the same thing as you.  Your point of view will change, and unfortunately, your belief system will change also. I urge you to also take action against the wrongs you see in society.  I personally am involved in Invisible Children because I see slavery and child soldiers as something that is wrong and should be stopped right now.  There are many other issues going on, and I encourage you to take a stand for what you believe, instead of just watching the results!