We recently posted a blog briefly explaining how we can most effectively impact humanitarian crises around the world. Whether it’s an earthquake in Nepal that leaves hundreds of thousands homeless or a war in the Middle East that leaves millions of people displaced, the natural and man-made problems in our world have real and harsh consequences for large sections of the world’s population.
In that blog post, we shared about trusted organizations that were actively serving in Nepal at the time, and why we trust them to enough to send resources directly to them and counsel our body to do so. But there are also things we can do here to respond and get others to respond – not only so lives are impacted overseas by aid, but also so we can share the “why” behind our efforts to care.
No Random Acts of Kindness
Recently, the plight of Syrian refugees has captured the attention of many, as millions flee civil war in that country. As with other crises, our response is to write a check (and get others to write a check) to great organizations like World Relief or Samaritan’s Purse that have boots on the ground. That action, although certainly helpful, does little to impact people near us with the “why” (gospel) behind the “what” (act of giving).
You see, we think a believer should extend their engagement beyond a “random act of kindness.” Rather our acts of kindness should be intended to lead to a “why behind the what” conversation.
Here’s what I mean
A chance to remember this principle occurred this week in my community group. There is a lot of passion within our group about responding to the crisis in Syria. The story is on the news daily, our kids see it, and there seems to be no solution in sight.
Out of that appropriate passion came the idea (because of a Facebook post by a well-known author) to make a big Sam’s Club run, buy a bunch of supplies, pack them up, and ship them overseas to an agency caring for refugees in the Middle East.
On its face that seems like a great idea, because people in dire need of care will get some help. But is there a better way to care for folks in need? Can we provide even more than a Sam’s run can supply – especially since a bunch of cost will be spent on packing and shipping the supplies?
Meanwhile, what about those not following Christ whom we share life with each day? They’re saddened by the crisis, too. How do we get to a “why behind the what” conversation with them, so they are aware we care about people in crisis across the world, and they know we care because Christ cares?
So my community group brainstormed and came up with a couple of ideas (things you might consider, too):
- Social Media: Use it to explain to your followers that you’re raising awareness and money for Syrian refugees’ care (or whatever crises you’re responding to), encourage others to do likewise, and share your heart. Explain why sending funds is better than packing a box in most instances (since resources are already nearby and just need to be purchased), identify trustworthy organizations to send funds to, and finally tell the why behind what you’re doing… God commands us to care for the poor Matt. 25).
- Lemonade Stands or some other fundraiser: Set it up on a street corner or a soccer field or anywhere folks are congregating and sell things like water, soft drinks, Gatorade, food, etc., to raise money to help. But you can also hand out cards telling folks why you as a believer are doing this, inviting them to your church or to contact you to talk more about Christ.
The bottom line is this: Many folks are looking for places to be generous. God has called us to equip them by directing them to faithful stewards to be generous towards. But He’s also called us to share the story of the Living Water that will not just meet your thirst for water today, but thirst for life eternally.