by Pastor Jerry Bush, Bethel Fellowship Church, Versailles
True evangelical faith cannot lie dormant. It clothes the naked, it feeds the hungry, it comforts the sorrowful, it shelters the destitute, it serves those that harm it, it binds up that which is wounded, it has become all things to all creatures.
– Menno Simons (1496-1561).
The evangelical church, as we know it in the United States, often forgets the things that Simons wrote about, which are all Biblical teachings. I know churches that are doing some of those things very well, but largely they seem to get missed amid programs and activities in the church, not to mention the busyness of our culture that most Christians have adopted, including myself.
But God says in his word: “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” (Proverbs 19:17)
I have had the opportunity to visit two third-world countries: Haiti and Guatemala, the first- and fourth-poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere. I have stood in the dirt floors of their homes, heard their stories, and held their children. But you don’t have to go to a third-world country to find the poor, the sorrowful, and the wounded.
We have people in our communities with these problems. Yes, some made terrible choices, but some have no choice for a multitude of reasons.
Like Menno Simons, I describe my faith as evangelical. I want people to come to know Jesus as Savior and confess him as Lord. There is a wonderful future waiting for those who made that decision. But that is not all we are called to do as Christians, evangelical or otherwise.
We must feed, comfort, shelter, serve and bind up as part of the mission Jesus has called us to.