in defense of…

I have heard from one too many sources this week “concerns” over all the activity surrounding Haiti and the relief efforts going on there. Everything from “we have homeless people here, too”, to “we should help our country first”, to “why does it take a major disaster before people get involved?”

Enough.

While I won’t defend what anyone else is doing, I will set the record straight on the activities of Maranatha Church.

We are headlong into earthquake relief – no apologies. God said we should do it and we are. But know that we also help people in America. In fact, a much larger percentage of our budget goes to work for people in the good ole’ USA than abroad. I’m not sure if this is good stewardship with God’s money. The truth is, we see much less return on the money invested in people in the States. By less return, I am talking about disciples made. The stats don’t even compare. It takes many more resources to win a person to Christ in the US than in third-world countries. But we continue to plant economic seeds in our home country, nonetheless.

I would like to know where we get the idea that we should help ourselves before we help others. Where is that written? A very misguided interpretation of Galatians 6:10 may be the culprit: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” This verse is not referring to nations, it is referring to believers in Christ. So possibly, we should first assist those within our community of faith – no problems there. But the idea of putting Americans above others is not supported in Scripture. It is, however, arrogant and quite possibly racist.

For those who wish to find fault with people who are helping now, in this time of disaster, rather than helping at other times – well you won’t find an audience with me. The fact is, we have been helping all along. For many years. To the tune of thousands of dollars for decades. We are not bandwagon jumpers. We are not simply responding to CNN or Anderson Cooper. We have been, and will continue to minister “to the least of these…”, as Jesus instructs.

So if you would like to complain about our recent involvement with Haiti, my question is, what are you doing? What have you done for the homeless or the orphans or the widows or the needy in the US or anywhere else? How much are you giving to take care of others? What percentage of your income are you giving away? My guess is: not much. If you were, you wouldn’t have time to complain about others.

So go ahead and grouch about relief efforts. I am done listening to you. There are some earthquake victims that need my time.

Wow, that was therapeutic. Glad I got that off my chest!

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