You Feed Them

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, April 12, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

Till now I have been mostly focused on what Biblical charity is not. As I begin to demonstrate and affirm what Biblical charity is, it is important that you are divested of the notion that the government can mediate Christ’s will for the poor; they can’t. Government has to concentrate power in order to provide anything that the poor need, and since they manufacture nothing and grow nothing, they have to take it from someone else. But unscrupulous people buy that power after it is amassed for their own purposes. This is the heart of oppression.

Another notion that you are hopefully divested of is that people can be forced to be better. The nefarious “social gospel” thought that they could legislate virtue. But if the New Testament teaches us anything, it’s that legislation is weaker than our own sinfulness (see Romans 6-8); if we are to be good, we need something better than laws.

When I say that you cannot be forced to participate in redistribution schemes, that does not mean that I believe we have no moral obligations to Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian, your moral obligations supersede being legally right (Romans 8:12).

When Ezekiel described the new covenant that God was going to make, he says “I will” 10 times; moral goodness is a creation of God in the hearts of those who put their trust in him. It is because God acts that goodness results. People cannot save themselves, nor can we save each other, whether through laws or some other way. We must be changed by God! One of the ten “I will” statements is, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). If you take a stone from the bottom of the sea, and though it has been there for 10 centuries, when you break it open it is dry inside. Stone is not penetrated by water. In the same way, the human heart can be submerged in a Christian culture and yet remain obstinate toward God. A stone heart does not respond to God and cannot respond to God (Romans 8:5-8). Jesus accused the Pharisees of plastering over a heart that did not love God.

Furthermore, in the next “I will” statement, God says, “And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:27). God promised that he would do ten things to change our nature under the new covenant (Christianity), and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was one of those things. This is what makes it possible to live for God! This is what we call being born again. Why would you want to revert back to oppression and violence to achieve Christ’s will? Christian, follow Christ; he did none of those things.

So if we cannot force others to pay for our programs, if we cannot collude with governments, what do we have left? Everything. We have been entrusted with the ongoing mission of Christ. We carry on everything that He did. The local church is the hope of the world!

In Matthew 14, we read how differently Jesus did things. Great crowds were following Jesus at the time, and he taught them till it was too late for them to go buy food and get back safely. The disciples said to him, “Send the crowds away because it’s already late so they can go to the village and buy themselves some food.”

But Jesus told them, “You give them something to eat.”

The disciples were floored of course. How was this even possible? Should we appeal to Herod for some bread? Never. Shall we demand that the villagers give up a little bit from each of their own homes so we can give some of it to the crowd? No! Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.”

Understandably, they say, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” They rightly knew that the task was greater than their ability. But what was Jesus’s solution?

“Bring the loaves and fishes here to me,” he said. He then gives them specific instructions, which the disciples follow, resulting in the miraculous multiplication of the food. The result is that God is glorified and there is abundance. Jesus calls us to work in a different way. We cannot please God or advance the kingdom of God through worldly methods. Hebrews 11:6 says that “without faith it is impossible to please him.”

In order to do our Christian duty to the world, we must rely on Christ’s power and methods. They are supernatural in nature. “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:14). If we try to bring about God’s kingdom using worldly methods, we will fail every time.

“You feed them.” Christians, our Lord has called us to take care of the poor, to preach the gospel to them, to pray for them. “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3).

Let us start food pantries, financial counseling, clothes closets, hospitals, orphanages. Let’s do all of these things in the name of Jesus! George Muller started all those orphanages first of all to preach to the materialistic British people of his day the message that God is a better provider than money. Secondly, he was deeply concerned about the plight of orphans. American Christians started most of the hospitals with no government help. And then later denominations lost those hospitals to an avalanche of regulation and paper-pushing to satisfy the bureaucracy in Washington. We were all better off without the secular “help.”

In spite of the fact that the secularists and statists take so much of our money away from us, we still have a moral obligation to our Lord to carry out his objectives on the earth. If we modern Christians have five loaves and two fishes and the tax man takes two loaves and one fish, our situation of being hopelessly dependent on God has not changed. Three loaves and one fish can feed a multitude as well as five loaves and two fish when Jesus Christ is doing the math for you. Let’s remember that.

Next week, I will write more about Biblical charity. Blessings.

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