Saturday, February 13, 2010

More Than a Review

I've been hearing about a book called The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns for some time from many different sources. And though I was interested in it, I also had a feeling it might be a bit uncomfortable to read. In the book, the author lays out a compelling case that describes the Gospel as more than a personal relationship/salvation through Christ. He quotes plenty of scripture that points to the fact that the "Love your neighbor" command is just as much Gospel as "Love God." God consistently throughout scripture calls for compassion, generosity, feeding the poor, caring for the orphan and widow, seeking justice instead of capitalizing on unjust situations, etc. And the carrying out of these things is often described as the way God knows we belong to Him.
The book does so well in laying out the problems the majority of the world is facing (poverty, sickness, lack of clean water, etc) and also in explaining why we as wealthy American Christians so often fail to act in tangible ways to help alleviate their suffering. It could become overwhelming, thinking about all the suffering in the world, but the author carefully gives hope throughout the book. We are reminded to "not to fail to do something just because we can't do everything." And the phrase repeated several times through the book that I truly took to heart was, "Please allow my heart to be broken by the same things that break God's heart."
The bottom line is: I'm rich. Others are deeply, miserably poor and sick. I have knowledge of their need, and the ability to help in at least some small way. And the big kicker: to ignore their need would be wrong.
This is more than a book review because it impacted my life in a way that caused me to take action. After reading the book, I checked out the non-profit for which the author is President. World Vision is a remarkable organization that allows the wealthy people of the world to connect with and help children from poor countries. I actually made a commitment to sponsor one child named Providence. She lives in Rwanda and has the same birthday as my own daughter. After really listening to the needs of so many around the world, as it was presented in this book, and after truly acknowledging that I should be doing more to help, it was impossible to ignore a call to action.


Chris Carroll said...

I agree, it all seems so overwhelming, and it is easy for us to cop out to "well, I can't make a difference", but what we so often forget is that there are opportunities to partner with someone else (like Worldvision) that is already making a big difference. I also agree that to ignore their need would be wrong...tough...convicting.

Lynn Leaming said...

Steve and I have been sponsoring a child through Christian Relief Fund for many years, two of our boys grew out of the system and we now have our third, Darwing from Neon, Nicaragua. The reason I like CRF is more money actually goes to the child than Compassion or World Vision, I guess the bigger you are the more the administraton cost. Nevertheless, I agree it is a small sacrifice that makes a big difference in a child's life. It is always good to hear from our child as it makes him more real.

BECKY said...
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BECKY said...

Lynn- I think that is so neat to hear that other people have been sponsoring kids for years. It makes me wish I had gotten involved sooner. Though, I did some checking on your statement about the percentage of funds that go directly to helping. CRF and World Vision are actually neck and neck in that department with CRF having 88% go to programs and World Vision having 89%. I just didn't want people to read your comment and think that World Vision was not as accountable with their donations because they are highly accountable.