I received an email this morning from one of my favorite sisters-in-Christ, Ann Voskamp. She is (as of this writing) over in Africa: Farm girls in Africa. She wrote a letter to the North American churches about the plight of the poor in Africa and how rich we are. And we are rich. If you can read this now, you have what they don’t have. And how “hungry we are for the uncomfortable” and “hungry for more than vanilla services” (Ann’s words, not mine). AMEN to that, Ann! Well, I know I am. I know there are others. Ann says it better than I can because she is right there in Africa among people so poor it hurts the eyes YET so rich spiritually it shames our souls. They have nothing yet everything because they have Christ. To the uninformed it would seem ludicrous, but to those who know, it is all the wealth in the world and then some. Besides, Ann is a very eloquent writer. Follow this link to her website and read it for yourself:
Why don’t we give more instead of giving less and hoarding more? Why do churches need to feel God is impressed if you build Him a crystal cathedral while His impoverished children starve? Do you think God is impressed if you build a half million dollar garden you claim is a garden of prayer while the needy can’t even have access to a Bible? If God wanted a garden, He can do a whole lot better Himself and it costs nothing because He can create it out of nothing.
Empty clanging bells. Vanity upon vanity. All is vanity. Strutting peacocks on parade; mop your brow.
Churches waste an awful lot of money on things that don’t matter. I am not saying all churches do this but we all know that a lot do. There are churches that are struggling while others are really doing well financially. And there is excess. If a church can afford to collect donations for a live Christmas pageant with real camels, donkeys and other trappings, then it can afford to help out the poor. Live pageants can cost $10,000. A sponsored child from Compassion International cost $38 a month. $10,000 would cover 263 months or 21.9 years. If you did two children, then you could cover their expenses into adulthood depending on the age of the child when it is first sponsored. Why don’t whole congregations sponsor children? Do you know how much it would cost if an entire church did it? Pennies per member. If you had a church with only 100 members, it would cost each member 38 cents a month.
There are a lot of good Christians that give sacrificially but there are a lot that give out of their excess; that have been blessed extravagantly but have not sponsored any children. The wealth of the United States alone could probably take care of every Compassion child on the planet. And could certainly buy a Bible for the teacher in Africa at the Baptist Church Sunday school because hers is falling apart.
The churches of the world are spiritually impoverished. The churches in Africa, like the one Ann photographed, are spiritually rich.
Sponsor a child and then also go to Pure Charity and see what is needed there. You can contribute a little to others’ needs that might even help them support themselves like 3 Cords: http://www.3cordshaiti.com/ 3 Cords helps amputees in Haiti make money so they can help themselves.
It all depends on where your heart is.