This morning I watched a picture montage of the tragedy that is Haiti today. I watched as THOUSANDS of people stood in line in the HOT sun waiting, hoping and fighting over bags of beans, rice and oil. Many of them waited for hours just to be told that there wasn’t enough and the aid group had given out all the food they had. The already hungry people of Haiti are now even hungrier in the aftermath of the earthquake. I was struck with the reality that as Christ followers, when it comes to those in need, prayer alone will not be enough.
I had a couple interesting and diverse comments from people on a Twitter post I put out on the subject. Some agreed, some totally disagreed and said that prayer is sometimes all you can do. Personally, I could not disagree more with that statement. I would love to hear your thoughts on prayer and the needs of the poor. Do you think that it, alone, will be enough from what you know about what Jesus commands us to do?
Below is my response to the person that may disagree with me on this statement. I think Jesus sets the record straight on how we ought to engage those in need. I want to make clear that I am a FIRM advocate that prayer is an essential component to following Jesus, but, on it’s own it will not meet the needs of the poor. Here is my response:
Twitter: Watched a piece on @CNN about the lack of food in #Haiti. It’s not enough just to pray we must mobilize what we have for those in need!
I look at Matthew 25 where Jesus delivers his poignant and final sermon on ‘The Sheep and The Goats’. As you read that passage, NO WHERE, does Jesus mention that if we ‘pray’ for the least of these that it’s somehow serving their needs. Interesting, because I think Jesus (of all people) knew and understood prayer and the power of it. I find it interesting that these were His words in His final sermon:
34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
When he says those things, the questions come:
44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
He makes this next BOLD statement regarding 34-36 to answer the question and it’s interesting that He never ONCE mentions prayer. He mentions physical, tangible ways in which we serve Him when we serve others. The outcome of ‘when’ we do these things comes in this next verse:
45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
He then talks about what happens to ‘the goats’ or those that did not live these things out:
46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
I’ve heard it said that Matthew 25 is not so much concerned about the ‘ROOT’ of salvation, but, about the ‘FRUIT’ of salvation. It’s almost as if Jesus is saying, you cannot LOVE me and NOT engage in the plight of the less fortunate.
Again, I observe, PRAYER alone will not be enough to meet the call of what Jesus asks of us to develop as the fruit of our salvation. I’m not saying dismiss prayer, but, I am saying we better do more than just pray according to Jesus. My prayer is that Jesus would give me the courage and heart to serve the way He wants me to serve. I hope it’s your prayer too.
I’d LOVE your thoughts on this post. What do you think?