Today, over 68 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes worldwide, by violence, poverty or persecution. 800 million people are undernourished. 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services. Violence against women and girls is widespread, with the UN estimating that a third of women worldwide have experienced violence.
As Christians, we are troubled by these statistics; they invoke the compassion that is at the heart of our faith. But they are also overwhelming; we see so much pain in the news every day that we feel burdened by the weight of responsibility. We are compelled to be directly involved in the solution, putting our faith into action.
But sometimes in our zeal, we fail to discern the magnitude and complexity of Christ’s Body, and we often overlook or underestimate the role of its other key members.
Who is responsible for responding to the needs of poor rural farmers in Haiti? The Haitian Church or the North American Church? Who is most implicated in bringing about peace and reconciliation in the Democratic Republic of Congo? The Church of England, Australia or the Congolese Church?
These are trick questions. Believers in Africa, the Americas, Eurasia, and Australia, are all part of one Body that is working intricately to bring God’s peace into the world. When a need arises 10,000 miles across the globe, we all, as one body, are responsible for responding to that need. However, it is essential that we understand that we do not all play the same role.
It is easy to point to the wealth, opportunity and privileges that the West enjoys and say, “We are called to be the solution.” But in doing so, we forget that all believers have been called into action. In Jesus’s parable, the Master of the household distributed talents to all of His servants, and to this shrewd master even a fraction of a talent carried a weight of responsibility.
Likewise, all Christians, no matter where they live or what they possess, have valuable parts to play. When we treat materially poor Christians as if they have nothing to offer, we rob them of their reward, we rob “The Master” of His increase, and we rob ourselves of opportunities to benefit from their God-given gifts.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Joseph Bataille