We are continuing to read through Tending to Eden by Scott C. Sabin. In chapter one, he begins to build the scriptural case for how best to do missions.
(Isa 58:6-7) “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter– when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
(Isa 58:10) and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
I wonder what would happen if we in the American church became known for spending ourselves on behalf of the hungry.
Now, some readers will immediately react to this teaching, wondering about the simple proclamation the gospel? Isn’t it more important to save souls than to lift people out of mere physical poverty? Sabin responds,
To really love our neighbors, we must address both their spiritual and physical needs. We need to invest ourselves in their lives, just as Christ invested himself in the lives of his disciples.
In short, it’s a mistake to insist that it’s an either-or question. It’s both-and. Indeed, we’ll be far more effective evangelists if people see we love them enough to help them in other ways, too. Jesus himself did much more than preach the gospel.
(Mat 4:23-24) Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.
To follow Jesus, we should have the same balance.