To which organization should I donate? How do I know my money will get to people who really need it and won’t be eaten up with bureaucratic expense? Will my donation really make a difference?
Like many of you, I have asked these questions over recent weeks as I looked at pictures of the devastation from the tsunami in South Asia. It will take years for the affected countries to recover. Many people’s lives will never fully recover. Yet something has to be done to help people get back on their feet and move on.
A few days ago a solicitation came from a humanitarian agency run by one of my fellow ministers in the United Church of God. He is raising funds to help buy and refurbish fishing boats for Sri Lankan villages along the Indian Ocean. These people lost their means of supporting themselves when the tsunami destroyed their boats. The agency, LifeNets, is partnering with other larger agencies to raise funds to help people help themselves out of the tragic circumstance (see www.lifenets.org). Here, by comparison, is a small effort to help and to make a difference.
So I wrote out my check to this agency and sent it. In my mind, I imagine that it will help buy some nets, machinery or a rudder on one boat and thereby let a family earn a living and feed themselves and others. I look at it as one small link on a large chain of hope reaching out as a lifeline to people half a world away from my comfortable neighborhood.
There is a lot of bad news in our world. Bible prophecy contains some pretty grim pictures as well. Put them together and the subjects we write about are sobering, realistic and downright frightening at times. Yet at the core of Bible prophecy is the truth that Jesus Christ cares about the world He created. He did not wind up the world at the beginning and walk away to leave people to their own devices.
While on this earth, Christ demonstrated great compassion and attention to the daily needs of the people who came to Him. He healed them, fed them and taught them of the Kingdom to come. He left an example for His followers to do what they can to help people help themselves.
God cares. So must we who do His work. In this month’s issue we try, through several articles, to give a dimension to the South Asian tragedy that you won’t get through other traditional sources. You can tell this story has deeply affected all of us. Our writers are trying to give understanding to the incomprehensible. We believe the key is found in the Bible.
Christ did not walk away, nor should we. Like Him, we come with a message of the Kingdom of God. We know we will not bring that Kingdom by our own efforts. Only when God intervenes in this world will all the suffering come to a close. But we must do all we can to live by the principles and laws of that coming kingdom in our lives today. And when we have an opportunity to help people restore their lives, we do so in the spirit of the One who will restore all things in the world to come. WNP