God has provided enormous blessings to today’s Christian church in the Western world. We enjoy amazing freedom, resources and opportunity. Yet, at the same time world poverty and Christian persecutions are soaring. Why has God blessed our churches in such times? God’s call to Abraham gives us insight, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2)
Our country, our churches and our families have been blessed in order to be a blessing to the world. Are we utilizing those resources to bless the world or are we using them to bless ourselves? We appear to have lost our biblical perspective. Our Western brand of Christianity is out of touch with world Christianity and historical Christianity.
If you make $49,802 per year (average income in the U.S.) you earn more money than 99% of the world’s population. If your family earns $23,050 per year (US poverty level for family of 4) you are in the top 19% of the world’s richest people. More than one-half of the world’s population lives below the internationally defined poverty line of less than $2 a day. We are the richest church in the history of the world for a reason. It has more to do with the sick & poor than our own recreation & indulgence.
The gifts we have been given were not intended to provide us comfort & security, but instead used to better serve those in need. Our Christian brothers and sisters are struggling. Every year over 100,000 Christians are killed for what they believe. Today 200 million Christians in 60 countries are denied basic human rights because of their faith. Today 300 million people don’t have a Bible available in their own language. Tim Keller tells us, “Because Jesus served you in such a radical way, you have a joyful need to serve.”
While we covet our latest gadgets and spend God’s resources on ourselves there are countless unsaved dying of preventable diseases and starving around the globe. World Christians are risking their lives to find a Bible, attend church and evangelize the unsaved. God has blessed us in the Western church so that we can be a great blessing to the rest of the world for the kingdom. In his book Dangerous Calling Paul David Tripp writes, “Don’t confuse God’s blessing as his endorsement of the way you’re living.”
Why We’re Blessed
Paul told the Christians in Corinth, “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:11) God does not need us to expand his kingdom, but he has blessed us with the extreme privilege of sharing his name with the world. Our goal, in everything we do, is to glorify God. We are to bless the world and expand the gospel. God did not give us good health and resources so we could spoil ourselves. Use all God has given you to expand his kingdom and share his gospel.
Doctor, teacher and janitor is not your calling. Those are the means God has given to provide His mercy and love to others. That’s your calling. Our time, our resources and our heart should be diverted from seeking our own pleasure and comfort toward expanding God’s kingdom and glory. Serving the poor is not about sympathy for their condition, it is sharing the gifts we were given when God had mercy for our condition. R.C. Sproul tells us, “One of the worst things we can ever do is to waste the gifts that God has given to us.”
In Scripture James wrote, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27) As Christians we are called to bring glory to God by serving those in need. Serving the needy around the world or on your block is the calling of every Christian. When God places a needy stranger in your path he is doing so to give you the opportunity to show that person the grace and mercy of Jesus. Giving a coat or a sandwich to the destitute is like giving a piece of the new heart you have been given from Christ.
Bless The World
God has richly blessed our Western churches and families. Nothing says we cannot enjoy those blessings as well. Augustine told us we can enjoy God’s blessings, but we must share them in God’s name, “Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.” We must use God’s resources for what they were intended: God’s glory in the world. God’s grace and mercy poured out on us should create Christians who are devoted to blessing the world in God’s name.
Giving our leftovers was not the goal when God called for us to give our lives. Make a sacrifice in your life today to better enable the expansion of the gospel into the world. When you give dignity, mercy, love, justice, charity and respect to others you are letting them see Christ in your words and actions. We must not lose site of why it is that God has blessed us so richly. Paul reminds us, “who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)
The late Adrian Rogers said, “You cannot obey God without your obedience spilling out in a blessing to all those around you.” Let’s strive to bless the world with the blessings God has given us.