Joshua's Way is in its 10th year of existence. When we were just beginning this ministry, a leader of another non-profit organization with whom I consulted advised that JW could not be both a teaching ministry and a mercy ministry. He believed that the demands and requirements would be too great to do both. In some respects he was right. It is indeed challenging to structure a ministry "to teach and to do". On the other hand, what good is teaching if we ignore the repeated admonitions of Scripture to put our faith into action and, in particular, to help the needy among us? Here are just a few samples:
- 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
- Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Isaiah 58:6-7
- The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. Proverbs 29:7
- He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done. Proverbs 19:17
- Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. Ezekiel 16:49
Then consider the compelling words of Christ in Matthew 25:31-46. His teaching here ought to make us both tremble at our lack of concern for the needy and, at the same time, motivate us to action. For you see, Jesus reminds us that, when He returns, there will be an unerring separation of all humanity. Some will be sheep who inherit eternal life. Others will be goats who do not. The sheep are those who responded in this life to the needy around them-for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat;...I was in prison and you came to Me. The goats are those who failed to respond.
Now, remember, we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone. But if our faith is genuine, if indeed Christ is our Lord, our actions (including how we treat the poor around us) will show it. See Matthew 7:21 and James 2:17.
Am I a sheep or a goat? Am I helping the needy or not? How we answer is important-now and forevermore.