I'm reading the "The Hole in our Gospel" by Richard Stearns. Provocative. Stirring. Will force you to rethink your view of the faith. I think it's a must read. Stearns, by the way, is the President of World Vision.
I was challenged by this quote. No one knows who wrote it but I'd be happy to take credit. This is what it says.
"Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering and injustice when He could do something about it."
"Well, why don't you ask Him?"
"Because I'm afraid He would ask me the same question."
And if God asked us that question ...what would we answer? Think about that for awhile. What would you answer?
Let's be honest about some things. There's a world of hurt out there. Just a few miles from where I write there are people who don't have very much. They're not lazy, insolent, or incapable. That's the easy stereotype of those who don't have and don't want first hand knowledge of the truth.
Further miles away there are millions and millions and millions of people who live on less than a dollar or two a day, sometimes raising families on that much money. They're not lazy, insolent, or incapable. The stress and strains on their lives are almost beyond our imagination.
The gospel asks us the question 'Who's our neighbor'? The short answer is 'anyone who's in need'? The longer answer lays a whole lot of responsibility at the feet of those of us who by any world standard have so much. We have so much money, stuff, access, influence, education and know-how. Having much, requires us to invest much. Are we willing to do so?
It's much more convenient to shake a fist at God and blame Him for all the suffering and hurt in the world. Looking in the mirror and shaking a fist at ourselves ...whew.
I used to give a talk at retreats that ended like this:
"So Jesus, what's your plan for carrying on your work?"
And Jesus took her to a place where she could see all of human history and together they watched the activities of ordinary men and women."
After they watched for awhile, she looked at Him in disbelief. "You mean 'we're your plan'."
And Jesus nodded.
She asked, "And what if you're plan doesn't work?"
Jesus said, "It's got to. It's the only plan I've got."
We don't believe it. Not down where the truth lives. We dig semi-deep into our pocketbooks, allaying as much guilt as we can, investing a little time, a little expertise but the truth is we don't live as if 'we're God's plan'.
What would happen if we lived more fully into the reality of being 'God's plan' for the hurting, the lost, the poor, and the marginalized? What would that do to our giving, the use of our time and our willingness to use what really is incredible influence? Easy. We'd give more, be more generous with our time and we'd be trying harder to bring more people along for what could be a rather incredible ride.
There's a world of hurt out there. A world of need. Who's going to help meet that hurt, meet that need? Count me in. I want to start filling that hole in our gospel. It might fill some holes in my own life.