I sometimes think that the reason that people will not want to engage in mercy is because it costs money and we are not exactly flush with that stuff. If we take care of children in Africa that leaves no more money left to take care of children here. The problem with that however is that if we say “then let’s take care of the children here” we will hear, “well then we have no money left over for upkeep and care for our church” and on it goes. The fact is that many of the people that promulgate the “witness versus mercy”, or proclamation versus aid and relief argument, are people that believe that our stewardship is a limited pie. If we cut off a piece and send it overseas that leaves less for me. There are ample Bilbical precedents to tell us that is not true but we are back to theological and prejudicial blinders (see April 21).
If anyone on the face of this planet has the right to feel that if we are giving to someone in Africa we are taking away from needs that can be addressed by his church it would be Rev. Joseph Samuel and Mr. Ravi Jesupatham in India. I was privileged to visit these wonderful Christian leaders in India and see first hand the work done in partnership with LCMS World Relief and Human Care especially after the devastation caused by the tsunami in 2004. I have pictures of my welcome there but I am sweating so hard I look like something from the Kennedy/Nixon debates so I won’t show those here but…….Mr. Ravi could say the same thing that I have heard some of our people say – “money that you are sending to Africa could be used here”.
But what did Mr. Ravi say? Here is his comment on the blog for April 19 –
“That was nice report of Project 24 and 1001 Orphans and the work going on among the less fortunate children of Kenya. I earnestly prayed for the project, its progress and the God’s servants who are involved. I also saw Pastor Bernie and his group pushing the car on the bumpy roads of Kenya. May God bless you all richly for these Mercy Works of our Lord and the challenging tasks you are involved in.”
Wow. Thank you Mr. Ravi for your prayers and kind words and we will continue to work with you in the mercy and proclaimation that you do in India. God gives enough for all. We need to study 2 Corinthians 8:13-15 – Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, 15as it is written: “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.”