faith and international development

faith and international development.

hmmm. so I just got back from a conference with the above title. i guess in my mind missions was synonymous with things like justice and "development." If that were only true! I found out so much about how many Christians have forced their minds into compartmentalizing these things - like a nice organization system. They can open some drawers and close others. Then step away and look at how neat and packaged everything is.

In no way am I saying that all Christians are like this. .. But I guess it goes back to something I learned at a Student Council conference in HS - We have been so easily conditioned.
We truly have. We are conditioned to feel passion and pity for those less fortunate, but only enough to think about them sometimes and contribute monthly, maybe yearly gift towards some NGO or FBO working on those types of things.
Even being interested in missions - a desire so vague - can be a crutch with expectations of exemption from dealing with these issues, because, if I'm for real, then i'll be "out in the field" someday. and isn't that giving enough?
wow. that is self-centered and true. and so far from what our Lord and Savior teaches!

In the past, I've heard arguments against serving social needs, because the danger is that spiritual needs will be neglected. One of the organizations represented at this conference offered a 25/28 vision. Matthew 25 talks about caring for those who are sick, without food, without clothes. This is where Jesus is and where we are called to serve. Matthew 28 talks about how we are to go out into all the world and preach the gospel.
Both mandates. Both important. They go hand in hand. The horrible thing is that when the church is not fulfilling the former part of this mandate, not only does it reflect bad on the body, but it leaves people all over the world feeling empty - no matter which side (giving or receiving) they would be on.

You see, lately I've also been learning about how we are made. We are made relational. At our very core, or spirits are relational because we are made in the Trinitarian image of God. God's design for our service includes sacrificing parts of ourselves for other people (as He has shown us in the ultimate sacrifice). We are blessed when we are obedient to both commands to bring relief through social justice and the Word in evangelism.

I could go on about how these things are inseparable. We were not created to fold away the social needs of God's children and shut them in a drawer while we neatly unfold our evangelism.
I picture a beautiful mess of humility being the art of service. God's design cannot possilby make perfect sense, but His mandates sure give us guidance.

I'm pretty sure no one even knows this address yet, but I am content to just diary my thoughts. These things have been a long time coming.