Donor nations from the United Nations recently pledged $5.3 Billion Dollars to aid Haiti in the rebuilding of their nation. This number does not include the Billions already given. It also does not include the $3 Billion that was donated by the US alone up until the day before the quake.
If you’ve been to Haiti before the quake, you perhaps would ask the questions I would ask. For instance, where on earth did $3B dollars go? Certainly not on the road system or infrastructure. In a nation that reports somewhere around ¾ unemployment it’s not in creating jobs. There aren’t enough toilets to have flushed it down. What on earth went wrong?
Paul warned Timothy that the love of money is the root of evil. When Jesus said a man can’t serve two masters, He didn’t say that you can’t serve God and Satan. Instead he set up the juxtaposition between God and mammon or money. When God refers to the subject of money, it’s not so much that it’s a sin, rather it’s that it’s very dangerous.
Maybe it should come as no surprise that us throwing this thing that God warns us to be careful about has caused more problems than solutions. Hang with me here.
Jesus did say to give to the poor. In fact the Bible talks about it over and over again. Hundreds of times God asks us to serve the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized the orphan, the widow. Often times when it records this, it says to do so through our giving. In Matthew 19, Jesus told the rich man to sell all he had and give it to the poor. So how do we reconcile the problem with our rich nation giving to this poor nation with seemingly no tangible benefit.
Perhaps giving to serve the poor isn’t so much about solving the problems of the poor as it is solving the problems of the rich. You see, the rich man walked away that day down trodden. Jesus went right to the heart of the problem. This guy loved his money. And when you love money, the best way to break that love affair is to divorce it. Give it away. It wasn’t the poor people that lost out on that day, it was the rich young ruler.
When done through the governments of the nations it always seems to create more problems than it solves. You don’t’ have to be a rocket scientist to know how well that works in any nation. This is the reason that when Jesus returns, it’s recorded that the government will be upon His shoulders. We’ve tried this over and over again and every form of government known to man turns up corrupt, greedy, and fallen.
As I read the scriptures though, I don’t see once where God requires or asks the government to do this. Over and over again, He does however ask His people to actively participate in serving the poor. Whether it was Israel in the Old Testament or the Church in the New Testament, God was very interested in His people being kind and generous with those in need.
It’s an act of worship. It’s an act of Love to the Father, as well as to those in need. It’s an act of Faith that says I’m going to trust that as I let go of this, that God has got my back. That the promise He gave David about the righteous not begging for bread is a promise I can count on. It’s me saying, “God, I trust you.” I can’t think of a more pure act of faith.
That said, giving away money without love is such an empty act. Paul said in 1 Cor 13, that if I give all my money away to the poor and don’t have love, then I have gained nothing. I think Haiti is a prime example of this in action. Nations have poured billions of dollars into this nation. Not as an act of love as much as it was an act of duty; of “doing the right thing”.
I’m obviously not suggesting that we stop in our giving as the Body of Christ to this nation or any other nation for that matter. What I’m saying is that as we’re doing this, we must do it as an act of Love. It’s an act of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s not just the gospel being presented; it’s the gospel being lived out.
When we attach ourselves to the vine. When the fruit of the Spirit, when the water of the Spirit, when the Spirit Himself flows through us, one of the things it will clean out is our love of money, and washes it downstream to those in need. More than just money it brings restoration, refreshment, and salvation to all those that encounter Him. This all flows from us that believe. It’s the rivers of living water that Jesus promised would flow from within us.
If you’ve been to a place like Africa or Haiti, you’ll see some of the happiest people on the planet. With their basic needs such as food and clothing being provided, the very needs Jesus promised would be provided in Matthew 6, these are some of the most joyful people on the planet. If you’ve ever experienced a worship service in a developing nation, you know what I’m talking about. Money didn’t solve their problems, Jesus solved their problem singularly. All those other issues are cursory to the main issue. They were separated from God, and now they’re not. Of course they’re full of joy!
In Acts 1, we see the floodgates of the Spirit opened. Jesus promised that He would not leave them or us alone as orphans. He said He would send another comforter, a counselor, a teacher. He was sending the Holy Spirit. This was the Spirit He talked about in John 7 when He said rivers of living water would flow from within us. The God of more than enough providing the Spirit for us, and making us Conduit of His Spirit to the world.
What is our responsibility as the church? What does it look like practically speaking when the church responds to a crisis like the earthquake in Haiti? That’s part of what I’m going to talk about on Sunday.
I hope you can join us. Conduit Church starts at 1030am. We meet at Independence High School in Thompson’s Station, TN. For directions you can go to http://www.conduitchurch.com
PS- Please continue to pray for our mission agents in Haiti. Audrey Pate and Michelle Anderson arrived there last night. Ben Holeton is 3 weeks in on his 3 month service. Caleb Thomas continues to be there on the ground. Also Pray for Pastor Lafleur who is running point on the overall mission. He has a lot on his shoulders. Pray for wisdom for him to know what he can delegate, for rest, for refreshment.