Monday, January 18, 2010

Relief May Not Look Like What You Think

I was listening to radio news recently as I drove home from one of our Worship Services. It was the most intense radio report I had ever heard. The reporter was deeply concerned about a group of babies that were in an orphanage. He believed they would die if aid didn’t come to them immediately. In anger he declared that there were several aid agencies and government forces that knew their specific location, but had not shown up to deliver any supplies that were desperately needed. As he talked his intensity increased and he finally said plainly, “If aid doesn’t arrive these children are going to die.” Needless to say there were numerous thoughts rushing through my mind.

What Can I Do?

In an instant I began wondering if there was anything I could do. The disaster area was thousands of miles away from me and I couldn’t get there any time soon in my car. I began to think of anyone that I might know that could do something. I couldn’t think of anyone except God that could direct aid to them. Then I had a thought that many of you might find strange. What if they die? Is that the worst thing that could happen to them? For a number of reasons I believe that infants go to Heaven when they die. I’m not going to write a theological treatise on that here, but I do believe the Bible supports the idea. What if they die? If what I believe the Bible teaches is correct, they would take their next breath in Heaven. They would have escaped the disaster and God would have provided relief to them. No, it’s not what we would think of as relief. It’s probably not what the reporter had in mind. He was begging for baby formula, clean water and diapers. Those are necessary supplies, but there is more than one type of relief that God can offer.

Raised in Power
Make sure you understand that I don’t believe that everyone instantly goes to Heaven when they die. The Bible is very clear. Jesus says in John 14:6 that no one comes to Father except he places his faith in Jesus. People of account who don’t repent of their sins, seek Jesus’ forgiveness and follow Him will have no access to God according to the Bible. But for those that will trust and love Jesus there is great hope. In fact, there is no greater hope. The Bible says, “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.” (1 Corinthians 15:42-43, ESV) That sounds like relief to me.

So Live Generously
In addition to the relief of resurrection, I believe a person’s love for Christ ought to drive them to be even more charitable. The cited passage plainly tells us of our weakness. Therefore, we ought to aid our fellow citizens of Earth with the greatest of effort. So, I hope you will give and serve generously when others are in need, but don’t forget relief comes in many ways.

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