I have watched social networking through a few well-known disasters (floods, earthquakes, etc) and have noticed an interesting pattern among Christians. First there is a sharing of information. The links to news stories travels fast. Quickly on its heels are the calls for prayer. Before long information will be shared on how to help; what to collect, how to text a donation, etc. Churches will share how they are mobilizing and opportunities will abound for getting involved. Then a strange thing happens. A forwarded post shows up. It looks something like this:

Doesn’t make much sense, does it??: Homeless go without eating. Elderly go without needed medicines. Mentally ill go without treatment. Troops go without proper equipment. Veterans go without benefits that were promised. Yet we donate billions to other countries BEFORE helping our own first. 1% will re-post and 99% won’t. Have the guts to re-post this.

I have never re-posted this and it has nothing to do with guts. I don’t re-post it because one, I am a Christian and it is outside of my mission as a follower of Christ, and it really lacks a lot of common sense.

Let’s tackle that second reason first. Common sense. That’s somewhat of an oxymoron, as sense is not too common. However, let me show you what I mean. Yes, America has its problems. Yes there are homeless people in the streets. Yes, many go without health care, and so on. However, to be needy in America is vastly different than being needy elsewhere in the world. If you don’t believe that, you probably need to take a few trips outside the country. In my community, I am the treasurer for the Ministerial Alliance. That means, just about every request for a local church to help the needy in our community comes through me. Food, temporary housing, rent, utilities, clothes after a fire, etc, are all requested. Our county is among the poorest in the country with more than half the population living below poverty. I think I see a good cross-section of America’s needy. Most are living better than the average person I have met in El Salvador and Kazakhstan. Most have luxuries that folks in those countries can hardly imagine. Yet, they fit in that category of “Homeless going without eating, Elderly needing medicine, etc.” The average person that comes through my office gets about $75 worth of help. Very, very few are grateful. Many have actually cussed me for my efforts. I tell you that to tell you that I once also helped a woman on the streets of Kazakhstan. I’m not much for handing out money on streets, but when I saw that she was cleaning meat off of a chicken bone from the trash in order to feed her toddler, my cold heart was won over. I gave her what change I had left, the equivalent of $3. She burst into tears.

Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of needy people in America that are grateful when helped. I once delivered about 300 gallons of bleach to a Katrina relief station and was hugged by about a dozen people. What I am saying is not that people in other countries are more grateful, but they are more needy. Let’s face it, given the choice, I’d rather be homeless in America than have a home in Haiti, especially after the earthquake!

Let’s also consider the massive amount of resources available for the needy in America, especially in times of disaster. If you are in a major disaster in the US, the relief comes rolling in while you get a hotel room and plenty of funds to rebuild. If you are in a disaster in Haiti, you will sit on a pile of rocks. Before you email me and tell me of someone that wasn’t helped in the US, ask yourself which is more often the case?

The fact is, that it makes sense to raise support for other countries because we have it and they need it. They need it far more than the “needy” of our country do.

However, my first reason is more important. I don’t re-post this silly post because I am a Christian and it is outside of my mission as a Christian. You see, Christ sends His people “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). You may say that I should help America first, but I say I do not serve the god of America. I serve Christ. His mission is global, thus my mission is global. That is not my country first and then the world, but the world, which includes my country. If you are a Christian, you should absolutely be seeking to help the needy in your community, in your state, in your country, AND IN YOUR WORLD!

I guess the real question is not do you have guts enough to re-post a silly little forward (what courage that must take!) but do you actually have the guts to follow your LORD?

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