Did Jesus die so little Johnny could have a blanket?
At first thought the answer to that question would be – no way! But, when I ponder the thought a little more, the answer is yes, but… hear me out. Jesus gave his life so that all of humanity could experience a vibrant relationship with our Heavenly Father and live an overcoming, victorious, eternal life now. Handing out blankets to those in need is our job.
Today we hear the words “Social Justice” to describe a value system of helping those in need and righting the wrongs of society. It is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political, social rights and opportunities. Social Justice has become an overused buzzword even in the church suggesting that we as believers must subscribe to this value system of righting the wrongs facing humanity – to stop human trafficking, to build homes for the poor, to hand out blankets, and feed the hungry – all in the name of social justice and community upliftment.
To involve ourselves in these activities does make us feel good; it gives warm fuzzies, a sense of accomplishment, and helps people along the way. The problem however, if we are not careful, is that it becomes easy for ministries, and even churches to focus more attention and resource on the cause or the project, and a tendency to minimize the role of missions and preaching the gospel in the process. In the past several years we have seen a shift even in our giving towards missions. Surveys tell us that those aged 45 and older will typically place a higher value on financing missions, winning souls and discipleship. Where those aged 45 and under place a more value on funding social projects and “felt” needs. Here’s the deal… Introducing Jesus to the people we are trying to reach will invariably involve challenge, rejection and even persecution at times. If we focus more attention on the less-confrontational social justice and upliftment projects, then we become just another do-gooder, UN type organization that endeavors to relieve suffering without giving people an opportunity to make an eternal decision. What do we do then? Do we make wine for humanity because Jesus made wine? Do we preach the gospel but not feed the hungry? No! We must do both. However, our end goal and message must always be Jesus and his love for mankind. The redemptive work of Jesus in our own lives must be what motivates us and fuels our efforts to do good and help the little Johnnies who are hurting, and in need… of a blanket.