SEE SOMEBODY IN NEED? GIVE THEM A NEW TESTAMENT
“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (James 2:15-17).
"It is foolishness and a public madness to fill the cupboards with clothing, and allow men who are created in God's image and likeness to stand naked and trembling with the cold so that they can hardly hold themselves upright." John Chrysostom, called “John the golden-mouth” because of his eloquent preaching, said this, referring to James 2:14- 20. I suspect that he never said anything more eloquent or golden.
I have a preacher friend who is a busy pastor with a large congregation. He is on a busy street corner, mostly alone, sharing the gospel every week. He’s not always by himself; very often a number of his church members are on the corner with him. This is what happens when people have such a good example consistently and humbly set before them.
Recently, in single digit weather my friend and members of his congregants were on a parking lot near their corner. They’d devised a “warming station” via a motor home that they had on hand, and were giving away food, articles of warm clothing and other essential items to people in need. No wonder God continues to bless this man and his church. He goes beyond handing out tracts, and where he sees a physical need, he does what he can to meet it in the name of Jesus. He’s my kind of preacher – my kind of man. But, infinitely more important, he’s God’s kind of man and pastor. This is what our world needs to see today: Christians and churches with their eyes and their hearts wide open.
When people are out on the street in single digit weather, what do you think impresses them most about you, your churrch or your Christianity – your warmest wishes or a place to warm up? When men, women and children are without adequate clothing in the winter what do you think impresses them most – your wanting to witness to them or your wanting to give them something warm to wear? People who are hungry need a sandwich or some soup more than they do a sermon or an invitation to hear one, and they’re more likely to give an open ear to those who’ve given them something to eat. The old adage is true, that "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
When I was young there was no such thing as government welfare and assistance programs; commodities and food stamps and the like as we have it today. Churches looked out for the needy and neighbors helped their neighbors. This program worked wonderfully well. But the government high jacked, for it’s own devilish purposes, the responsibility of helping the poor and needy. That’s what totalitarians do in order to gain and cement their power over people.
Many if not most Churches and Christians in America have relinquished to the government their God-given responsibility and privilege to care for the poor and needy, and even to care for their own families and fellow church-goers, and have come to like it that way. And this has caused a callousness of heart and mind and an awful state of selfishness to set in. Christians have become unable to see what they ought to see, and think like they ought to think and feel like they ought to feel, and respond like they ought to respond to obvious and legitimate needs that they are quite capable of attending to.
Many churches have become so warm and comfortable and “in need of nothing” that they are incapable of noticing or caring whether anyone else around them is cold and miserable and in need of something. And churches are paying a heavy price for this; colatteral damage-wise, so is the nation. When people lose their compassion for others in this way, they soon lose everything that is really important to them — everything from their freedom to their food and other things fundamental to life.
We need more men in our pulpits like my friend who knows spiritually, pastorally, how to walk and chew gum at the same time and we need more people in the pews who are as concerned about putting into action what they read in their king James Bible as are proud of their using the KJV exclusively. The more this happens, whenever and wherever it happens, we’ll witness desperately needed spiritual revival across our land.