I will preface this post with a clause, that I probably don’t have too much merit to post this since I don’t really do it (the money part).
Thinking a lot about the whole hurricane mess (no need to link since it’s everywhere).
Got me thinking about relief efforts and the Christian response.
What should our response be. Give money? Pray? Go there to help? Nothing at all? Talk about how God is somehow a part of this?
The two most obvious answers, I would argue, would be prayer and giving money.
Prayer, great, do it, and do it often. Leave a TV on and let it be a reminder to pray for people. As of Saturday my heart has been aching for those who were going to be affected and through Sunday my heart continued to ache as the impending was coming, and Monday as footage came I continued to feel the grief that these people were feeling and today I want to keep in fresh in my mind that while for the rest of us this is primarily over, they will have to deal with this for the next coming months and years.
insert preface statement
And how easily we have forgotten Dec 26 2004. These people now a 1/2 year later are still dealing with putting their lives back together. But our funds have already been diverted from helping them a few times, the resurgence of crisis in Africa and the ONE campaign, the buying of little yellow bracelets for cancer research, and I could go on.
I am not saying that these are not noble things to be supported.
But what to me appears to happen is a transference of funds from one place to another.
I as a Christian who gives has budgeted $50 a month to give to some charity. So I faithfully give to my missionary from our church. Then Dec 26th hits, that money now goes to help in the tsunami relief. Then the ONE campaign comes along, and then the money goes to help them, and now the hurricane comes so your money will now go to help them. Do we ever stop to think about the consequences of our “charitable” acts. What about the missionary from your church? Will something bad have to happen there for your money to return to their cause?
The point I wish to call into focus is the need for our Christian response to be one that builds upon itself. So we start with the $50 that’s going to our missionary, then when Dec 26th happens we dig deep and offer an additional 20 a month to them, so now we are spending 70 a month. Then when ONE comes along we say how much more can we afford.
Instead of continually shifting our funds around to the “most urgent” or “most recent” place that needs help.
I remember that shortly after the tsunami hit there were a few reports coming from aid workers in Africa who were pleading for monetary help because all of the funds they had come to rely on, were now being deferred to south east asia.
Please, please, please do not get me wrong. I know some of you will say, “Andrew it just sounds like you have an ill sense of giving.” My point here is we need to re-examine our Christian idea of giving. We need to make sure that we are giving in a responsible way. I am not saying we should not be attentive to need or hurt when it occurs. But we should not be like reeds in the wind, being swayed by the changing of the winds.
If you have no more to give, don’t divert funds from other places that need it just as badly. Dig deep, find a way to give above and beyond.
And pray harder and for longer. Prayer is always free. Money is not always the solution.