Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Neighbors VS. The World

I have been thinking quite a bit lately on the balance between "go into all the world" and "love your NEIGHBOR". More than once I have heard, in recent days, things like "we don't need to go around the world to care for the needy, because we have so much need here". I want to start a discussion on that topic, though I don't have many of the answers yet.

Why should we adopt kids from other countries when there are orphans here? Why should we go half way around the world to help widows when there are widows in our own neighborhoods? Why go to the Philippines to help street kids when there are street kids here? That list can go on for a long time.

Here are some things I want to stick into the hopper. Our example of ministry is Christ and did He only go to the people of His home town? Past that, did He go only to the people of His own nation? When He healed people did He heal only Jews? He could have healed any number of Jewish lepers but He chose Naaman the Syrian. He could have asked for water from any number of Jewish women, but He went to the woman from Sychar. Those are a couple of easy answers but I would like to hear your answers, from both sides.


Leila said...

I think it's balance - Christ cared for those both near and far from Him. So, it is to our shame if we only focus on international issues and completely ignore someone in need in our own Church or community. But, lest we knee-jerk too completely, it would also be wrong to only focus on ourselves and ignore other problems if we have the means to help fix them. Right?

Chuck Weinberg said...

This is not really from me but from a friend.

Patrick Hess and Family Updates said...

This is a loaded topic Chuck. I’ve often wondered about people’s motivations to help domestically or internationally. Here’s just something things I’ve come up with over the years. 1) There is the disbelief that there are no poor people in US. The people holding cardboard signs on street corners are viewed as lazy and/or victims of their own bad choices. 2) The needs of the poor in the US are more complicated to define and this makes it more difficult to give or help. 3) Despite the best intentions of government programs (supported by our tax dollars) established to help poor people, crime, drugs, and murders continue to be major problems across our country’s landscape. This unfortunately gives the impression that these things cannot be helped. 4) Giving to causes thousands of miles away from our borders provides a healthy level of gratitude that we might not get from our neighbors. 5) "A little goes a long way." Its amazing what a year’s worth of latt├ęs or dog food can do for impoverished countries like Myanmar.

But the honest answer is, ‘Keep your eyes on God.’ God is doing the work through us. Helping locally or aboard, is our opportunity to see God’s marvelous hands at work in our lives and those we have been directed to serve. To not do anything is to miss His blessing. I don’t mean any form of reciprocal blessings that might come from our giving. I mean the blessing of watching God do something that was thought impossible.


bean said...

i came back hoping to see a bunch of helpful comments, but there are only these two! helpful, but i wish there were more. we are working through lots of these issues as well...right now all i've come up with is that there is plenty of helping that needs to be done and we need to be faithful to whatever God throws in our path and whatever (arbitrary) burdens He places on our hearts. i'm more concerned about people using disagreements about local / distant to excuse not doing anything than where they choose to do SOMETHING. keep writing!