Red Bike Publishing Books

Friday, August 12, 2011

Making a difference; Commitment Style

I've been doing a lot of newspaper reading, information gathering, volunteering with praying to better understand who my neighbor is. After reading The Hole in the Gospel by Richard Sterns and Radical by David Platt, I realize that my "neighbor" isn't just around the corner or the next house over. These two books helped explain that our world's population is our neighbor.

Christ's message is to love our neighbors. That sounds easy until we learn that love is more than simply an emotion of our hearts, but a call to action. You're probably familiar with the term "make the punishment fit the crime." If you are, then allow me this analogy, "make your reward fit your heart". It's not enough to say, "My heart goes out to these people". Even their enemies feel compassion. But neighbors rise to the occasion to help. In my case, I've often felt distant and unaffected, blaming it on poor governments and people needing to "take care of their own problems".

Last week my neighbor's trees blew over into my yard. It was a huge mess and I fretted over how to clean it up without a chain saw.
Will I buy a chainsaw and take care of it myself?
Should I bother my neighbor and ask him what he plans to do about the trees?
Alas, I didn't have to do anything. Saturday morning I was overjoyed to hear the guttural and powerful growling of a chainsaw. Like a claxon, it called me and the surrounding neighbors to pitch in. Within hours we had both yards cleaned up.

Our neighbors near and far need our help. I received the message loud and clear and gladly spring into action. For me, it meant finding a local charity and supporting it in service and finances. It also meant joining Mr. Stearns in adopting a child, providing clean water, and donating to abused children through World Vision.

This week my heart breaks over the refugees from Somalia. Our neighbor's children are starving. Their mothers walk miles to feed them only to be abused. This is not their fault as they are born into their misery. What can we do? Are we powerless to help?

Let's start by praying for them, writing our leaders, donating money and using our talents to let our neighbors know we are doing our best for them.

If you are looking for ways to join in loving your neighbor, consider these points as addressed in Radical.
  • Become active in your church through service and tithing
  • Join a local charity organization and give of your time and money
  • Find an international charity and do the same
  • Plan to visit a foreign country to help where needed
If you are looking for a place to start, why not help me raise funds for abused children. I am partnering with World Vision.

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