Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Power of ONE

This morning I'm preaching on Isaiah 58. I'm doing a series on chapters 58 through 62 featuring the metaphors about light. It is a powerful read if you think about America today receiving the prophet's warning.

Today we will hear the words:

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

And if we heed the message, then what?

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

There is good news in "right worship" (the literal meaning of orthodox). I believe there is also hope in individual action. The promise of "your light" breaking forth is not plural in the Hebrew, the promise is that your personal light will shine. Jesus would remind us not to put it under a bushel!

I'm moved by the wisdom of the ONE Campaign. Check it out here They are putting forth a belief in the power of ONE. Here is a part of the pledge they encourage each of us to take:

We believe we can beat AIDS, starvation and extreme poverty.

We recognize ONE billion people live on less than ONE dollar a day.

We commit ourselves - one person, one voice, one vote at a time - to a make better, safer world for all.

The power of ONE is the power of ONE person who believes that all the people of the world are ONE and that together as ONE we can build a better tomorrow. In this philosophy I hear the wisdom of the theology I proclaim that we are all ONE body with many parts, living our lives to the glory of the ONE God.


David J said...

Ian, for those who may not be familiar with "ONE" you
should do some explaining about it. This organization has some
very diverse memebership. Pat Robertson and Bono come
to mind. These are Christians who believe there is a solution to
global poverty and the buck stops with us. It seems that many
evangelicals have never heard of it. I hope more do, as it's
what we're called to do.

Hollands Opus said...

I am interested in partnering with Christians and non Christians to address poverty and disease. I think we must. One need not be Christian to act morally. Indeed, one can profess atheism and still care for others and make a difference in these areas.

I do think that sin limits the entire enterprise, and I would hope that wherever we bring food and medicine, the door would we opened to preach Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Compassion international is famous for blending spiritual and physical nourishment and dollar for dollar support - because sin taints the giving process and sometimes loaded beauracracy takes more than it gives, and of course we have seen corruption from administrators in the wake of many natural disasters.

And everyone can spare a few bucks a month to help out in our immediate spheres of influence.And it should also be noted that many do!

mkz said...

I was wondering how to comment on this subject, without sounding like a detractor from the intention of good works.
I applaud any person, group, or organization that takes a stand to fight the ills in this world, and none are so painful as the poverty and disease that affect children.
I chose to support Compassion International as a child sponsor over various other groups primarily because they feed the milk of the Word to the souls of the desperate children , as well as filling their hungry bellies, clothing their bodies, and teaching their intellect. Much needed medical care is also provided, and AIDS ravaged areas are especially noted in the children's sponsorship package.
To paraphrase a metaphoric scene I recently heard preached; When the Day of Christ is at hand, and there are two lines, one of the Saved in Christ filing joyfully into His presence, and across a fixed chasm deep and wide the other line of the condemned that never knew Him on the way to endless torment and separation from God, I would be consumed with guilt and horror to behold the pained gaze of a person I knew in this life, as they called across the rift to me " You kindly fed my body, and clothed me against my nakedness. You generously afforded me medicines to heal the ills of my limbs. How then could you have known the costless cure for the sins of my soul, and not have shared that greatest of wealth with me?"
We should consider that the comfort of the body will one day crumble, but the Salvation of the soul in Christ Jesus is a treasure eternal.

Ian said...

The ONE Campaign is an advocacy campaign interested in getting individuals both to pressure the US government to do more and to support a variety of charities. Among the charities is my favorite, Heifer International. Also, Tony Campollo's organization doing literacy work in Haiti (IIRC) is among the groups. I'm trying to gather more information about ONE since I really like the approach.

As for sharing the gospel as part of the giving of charity, I have both experience and strong opinions. Perhaps it will lead to discussion here or perhaps another blog post. For now a quick anecdote and a quote will suffice.

The anecdote:
When I worked at the Salem Mission, on more than one occasion I heard people eating meals with us laugh about pretending to be believers in order to get help from the Salvation Army. It was very sad to think that the good intentions of Christians had had the exact opposite effect.

The quote: "Preach at all times, use words when necessary." - St. Francis of Assisi

David J said...

This post dove tails nicely with the post I recently did on the 30,000 dead kids who die each day due to a lack of food and clean water. I would think that putting a dent in this problem would certainly be a way to make the world a safer place.

Ian said...

Friends, I just discovered that I am in the top 0.75% of the richest people on the planet. My guess is that you are too. Click the yellow box on home page of this blog to see for yourself.

mkz said...

Hello Ian,
I can certainly appreciate a person pretending anything to be able to eat when starvation is a constant specter in one's life.
I believe the Father is capable of using hunger for the good of the sinner, the need for food may have been what God used to bring them to a place where they would here witness of Christ . While the people you described felt amusement at pulling one over on the missionaries, I think God may have been pulling one over on them. They heard the Gospel of Christ, the function of the mission was a success. I would be very surprised to find that if we were to revisit these same people, that the seed planted by the Word coming into their lives did not bear fruit. Even if that fruit was just one saved soul years after the event.
I have learned from the Bible, and experience that it is our mandate to witness, and God`s will to save. I seriously doubt that the mandated work of those Christians had the opposite effect of what they intended, but that the result took place according to God's timing, not their expectations.
During my unsaved life, many good Christians witnessed to me. Only two have ever seen the Salvation they helped to prepare that Jesus provided me.
I know exactly where I would be today, had those Christian men and women felt that I really didn't need to hear their witness. So I praise God that there are good brothers and sisters in the world today that know God's Word, and obey His command to speak His Truth, to everyone they meet.

mkz said...

I'm lagging way behind Ian, at 9.84%!,
Maybe because I only make $7.30 an hour, and I am on disability.
I praise God that He placed me in America, and truly given me such great wealth. Not in my financial status though, that has little value to Him.
three years ago I was at 13.08%, not counting my $88,000 debt. But I was still rich beyond my wildest imagination, as I am today because my wealth is my Salvation in Christ and the love of the Father.

David J said...

Ian, congrats on your finances! That's great news. And what will you be doing with your new found status? I say you ought to give some money to a poor slob who needs a new computer! Just kidding acutally.

I'm going over to click on the yellow box to find out how rich I am.

Hollands Opus said...

I will assume that I am rich given the status of much of the world. By the yellow box, I am in the top .88%. Praise God for his kindness, and may I ever increase in holy stewardship of the same, giving, as I have been given.

The meal given in love and compassion with a view of directing ones affections to God above, may very well be the evidence at thier judgement used against them before thier sentence to an eternity apart from the ultimate food giver is pronounced. May God be additionally merciful to them and grant them repentance. On the other hand, it may well be that one experienced guilt at thier next hunger pang and genuinely turned to God for the bread of life in Jesus. Who knows! The important thing is that Christ is preached and food is dispensed in his name, and that thank sis given for that name.

I agree, we can absolutely make dents and we need good government and private attitudes and goals to accomplish it.

David J said...

I think this issue is one very tangential to the argument of salvation. Everything changes once you've realized the God of the universe has picked you up and given you life. There is a similar realization when one realizes how blessed one is. That should be held up in light of the mire that surrounds innocent, helpless children who struggle to remain alive from dusk until dawn. Imagine having disease actually fed to you each day in what should be a refreshing bucket of water. We complain when our tap water tastes funny.

There is only one solution to this problem. And it's the One who made this universe and the One we represent in His metaphorical body.
I think we can build and defend the wall all at once. See Nememiah for more.

In the meantime, Christians should unite, both left and right, and see poverty for what it is-another evil to be defeated in this world.

sojourner said...

Thank you for the link to the yellow box, Ian. Amazing.

Hollands Opus said...

I tries to post this at David's blog, but can't bring it up - keeps getting hung up.Anyway, the subject matter being the same...

Good points all. It is interesting in light of this blog and the different perspectives that Johnathan Edwards comes up. The same man that preached "sinners in the hands of an angry God" just down the street from ua, indeed had great compassion. Check out his writing on poverty here:

Johnathan Edwards

mkz said...

Wow OP, I have only read section one so far, but indeed it goes to the heart of the post I just put on David's blog. Thank you for sharing this beautiful exhortation.

Twistedevangelical said...

Hey, Ian, where've ya been? Been missing the deep thoughts...