Humanitarian Relief Vs. Holistic Ministry

This fallen world in which we live is affected by sin. Disease, drought, and natural disasters leave untold thousands of people in serious need each year. In our sinful world, human efforts to meet the needs of those who suffer accumulates millions of dollars each year. From Bono, Elton John, and Brad Pitt with their AIDS awareness to Al Gore and his global warming campaign – many actors and actresses are joining with others in order to find relief for those in need.Although these efforts seem good on the surface, they fail to touch the true problem which is the need for the gospel. Almost all humanitarian efforts across the world are focused on the physical rather than the spiritual. What if we raise enough money to find a cure for AIDS? What if we cure cancer? What if we raise enough money to support all people around the world who are affected by natural disasters each year? The people who experience cures physically will die a miserable death spiritually! Yes, we need to reach out to people and seek to meet their needs physically, but unlike the world – the church has a responsibility to also reach out to the people’s spiritual need.Jesus Christ & Holistic MinistryJesus is our example for the Christian life. He preached the gospel and dealt with the hearts of people, but He also reached out to people with physical needs. A holistic approach to ministry seeks to minister to both physical and spiritual needs. How often are we guilty of living in modern day castles and neglecting those in need around the corner? When was the last time we personally took clothing to those who were in need? When was the last time we took food to someone who was hungry?Christians Should Help Physically – 1 John 3:16-18Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.Does the love of God dwell in our hearts? May we seek to involve ourselves in a more holistic approach to ministry! Humanitarian relief agencies and famous actors often seek to bring relief to the physical while completely ignoring the spiritual. It is my prayer that God will use me to reach people who have both physical and spiritual needs in the future – all for the glory of God. I can remember when I lived in Atlanta, GA. Occasionally, my wife and I would go into downtown Atlanta and feed homeless people chili. We would also take the time to share the gospel with them. As I look back on that small window in my life I realize that a balanced ministry approach is a necessity. I pray that God will change our hearts on this subject in order for the church of Jesus Christ to become more proactive in meeting the needs of our society.Christians Should Help Spiritually – Matthew 28:18-20And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.The great commission commands us to go out into the world and reach people with the gospel. We must meet the physical needs of people, but we must not stop there. If we stop caring for people once they have a belly full of hot chili or clothes on their back we have failed to love them fully. Everyone seems to be searching for a cure, but the cure is Jesus Christ! It is my prayer that Christians will seek to care for people – both physically and spiritually as we bare the name of Christ Jesus in the community.Delivered By GraceRev. Josh Buice