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