Just like the Hurricane in New Orleans, or the tsunami in Indonesia or the earthquake in Pakistan the news moves on to more new and exciting things like politicians having a love child, a pop sensation who can’t sing at the grammies, or live coverage of old guys in top hats talking to a ground hog in Pennsylvania.
In some ways it’s discouraging because I want to scream “Haiti is still there!” But I know that people move on. It’s actually healthy to move on from personal tragedy, it’s part of God’s healing for us. It’s been said that “time heals.” I personally believe God is doing the healing. When you think about it, it makes sense that He would use time, the very thing He exists outside of, the thing that He created for us, as a healing tool.
The problem for us as humans is that compassion seems to be a temporary feeling too. We all felt it, we were all moved by it, and eventually we all move on from it. It might just be a self defense mechanism, but at some point we become callous. Our brains seem to adjust to the new normal. The images fade, as the new wears off, the reality of day to day living sets back in. Anderson cooper heads back to NYC and without the daily reminder of the suffering, Haiti is quite frankly out of sight out of mind.
Maybe that’s why Paul doesn’t appeal to the minds of the people at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. It’s easy to miss it, but he’s not asking for an offering for the building program or the new sound system, He was asking for them to give an offering for the poor.
When you read chapter 8 He doesn’t paint pictures of the suffering. He doesn’t write descriptions of the poverty. He doesn’t even take time to tell the personal stories that must have existed of persecution, hunger, and sickness. He doesn’t appeal to their emotions at all.
Instead He says this is a test of their love; agape love, the God kind of love. I can say all day long that I love Jesus but Jesus gave me a litmus test when He said in John 14 that if you love Him, keep His commands. His commands? Love God and Love each other. Paul is basically saying put your money where your heart is.
If we’re giving out of emotion, it’s not sinful; it’s just temporal. If we’re giving out of our Love for the Lord, it’s part of our life. Paul goes on to say in 2 Corinthians 9 that it’s something we wouldn’t do either reluctantly or under compulsion. We would give what we decided in our hearts, and we would do it cheerfully. It’s not a burden, it’s not a guilt trip. In fact, Paul says it’s grace. It’s what? We’ll talk about that Saturday night at Conduit Church.
Part of the core values of Conduit Church is this type of loving our neighbors. When you write a tithe check know that it’s not only paying for the operating expenses of a church but it’s going to love the least of these. It’s part of our DNA.
FYI this won’t be a big push with emotional appeals for offering time. In fact, by Paul’s command in 2 Corinthians 9, if you feel pressured you don’t have to give anyway. Rather we’re just going to look at what Grace has to do with us loving those in need, and I’m going to talk a little bit about Conduit Church and our strategy for giving as an organization.
A couple of announcements-
• Parents please try to sit down with your kids and do the homework that Mr. Jim has given them. It’s a great way for you to interact with and teach your kids about faith.
• Please use the back entrance of Journey Church this week as there is a special event going on in the main auditorium.
• Let’s continue to pray for wisdom as we are making decisions about a more permanent meeting location.
• Finally, Russ Rankin and Caleb Thomas are both in Haiti this week. Keep them as well as their families in prayer.
I’ve seen what Jim Henderson has planned for the kids and it’s going to be a blast. Corey Peek is prepared to engage and challenge our middle and high school. Hope you can make it this Saturday night. 6pm at Journey Church at the Factory.
PS- We’re continuing to move towards a launch of Easter weekend. As we’re getting closer more of the opportunities to serve are becoming apparent. Thanks for your patience in the past couple of weeks as most of my time was focused on the fund raising and food shipments to Haiti. These next few weeks, I’d like to meet with each of you who are feeling led to serve in leadership and unpack what God is saying to you, and how we can serve you.