In Oklahoma City a woman gives birth unexpectedly — on a sidewalk. Bystanders turn their faces. A taxi driver looks, then speeds away. A nearby hotel refuses a blanket.
In Dayton, Ohio, a dozen people see a woman drive her car into the Miami River. They watch indifferently as the woman climbs onto the roof of the car and screams that she can’t swim. The woman drowns.
People were just as calloused in Christ’s day. He told of a man being robbed, beaten, and left half-dead (Luke 10). One at a time, two different people—one a clergyman (a priest) and the other a church member (a Levite) — looked at the bleeding man and passed by “on the other side.”
In contrast, there is the beautiful story of Rhonda, a Tennessee woman from Sevierville, helping an 18-year-old girl last month on a street in New York City.
Actually, Rhonda had seen the girl two weeks earlier while visiting the city. At that time, she had a strong impression to talk to her, but did not. Oddly, on July 12, when Rhonda was back in New York, she had the improbable experience of seeing the same girl.
They sat down on a curb, Rhonda gave her some money and told the girl of her earlier impression. The girl was receptive when Rhonda discussed Christ with her.
David Livingstone, the famous missionary to Africa, said, “I will place no value on anything I have or may possess except in relation to the kingdom of Christ.”
The New Testament leaves no doubt about Christ’s concern for social issues. Time after time he defended the less fortunate, including the poor, the crippled, the captive, and the blind.
When John the Baptist sent to inquire of Christ’s Messiahship, Jesus pointed out how He was helping the blind, the lame, the leper, the deaf and the poor. Constantly He mentioned the poor.
Should Christ walk on earth today, it is doubtful He would spend much time in our great churches (and He might say next time build cinder-block buildings so you can do more for Me outside).
One can well imagine our Lord going to “the other side of the tracks” and ministering to the poor, the downtrodden, the needy. The Scriptures say that the poor heard Him gladly.
“Give us a God — a living God,
One to wake the sleeping soul,
One to cleanse the tainted blood
Whose pulses in our bosoms roll.”
God demands that we help others in need. The apostle John asks: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (1 John 3:17)
Some ministers have begun to place heavy emphases on helping the downtrodden. Jerry Taylor, pastor of Daphne (Ala.) Bay Community Church, took the pastorate when running a handful in attendance. His clear emphasis is to help anyone in need in the area with food and clothing or other needs. Today, he is reaching more than 3,600 people weekly.
Jerry Lawson took a struggling, rural church near Cullman, Ala., named it Daystar, and began to emphasize reaching those in need of food and clothing or other needs.
He is now feeding, clothing, and ministering to more than 800 people weekly. What these two churches are doing is now being duplicated in various places throughout our nation. That must make the heart of Christ glad.