Last night I went to a concert by Matthew Smith and Indelible Grace. Matthew takes old hymns and puts them to new music. Although the songs sounded new their was a hint of familiarity, comfort to them. I enjoy music as my favorite way to worship; and with all worship I usually end up learning something. Matthew supports the ministry of Compassion International, www.compassion.com , which has the following mission statement:
In response to the Great Commission, Compassion International exists as an advocate for children, to release them from their spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults.
We Are Called To Take Care of The Poor
Matthew Smith showed a video from Compassion International and then in a simple statement he said that we are called to take care of the poor. He didn’t lay it on thick, he just stated the fact that is everywhere in the bible. Two passages I feel personally convicted by:
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Matthew 25:35-36 ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”
When we help the poor, we are worshiping Jesus. We are following His commandment to love others as ourselves.
When Matthew Smith asked us to sponsor a child I felt convicted. When I pass a beggar on the street I feel convicted. When I heard of the earthquake in Haiti I felt convicted. Tears well up reading news of Haiti. My tears spilled over watching the needs portrayed in the Compassion International video. I missed the opportunity to give the beggar a few dollars as the traffic light turned and he wasn’t in position to receive from me. I am passive to God’s most worthy children:
James 2:5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
Giving in Sacrifice
I give, I tithe, and I offer my service and my “stuff”. Yet, I felt so convicted. And all in that moment the reason was clear—I give when it is convenient. (This is my learning from this worship time.) If my car is right next to the beggar; if it is part of my budget and routine; if the service is in my giftings. I don’t give in sacrifice, not real sacrifice. Not like the woman who washed Jesus feet with the expensive perfume or the woman who gave her last coins in faith.
I don’t know where you are on this issue. I have dedicated myself to serving God and on the surface it seems like it has been sacrificial. But, He has given so much more to me in return. He gave His life for me. He has made my gifts seem so easy. I want to live in obedience to Him.
I have been blessed. Most of America is blessed in the area of wealth and material needs. My prayer is that I will walk in obedience. That I will give when the Spirit convicts me whether it is convenient or not. I will give when it requires sacrifice. Why? Because the poor and rich alike are God’s children. Because I love Jesus. No more procrastination. It is a gracious way to worship our Lord and Savior.
Thanks to Matthew Smith I have started on this journey. How about you? Will you join me if you can?