My friend and mentor, Ray Bakke, teaches that “people of good faith can join with people of good will for the good of the community.” We don’t need to water down our faith to be involved with unbelievers in causes that affect the welfare of the poor and oppressed. In fact, joining such movements is a natural expression of true Christian faith. When Christians are not present at the tables where plans are laid out to address societal evil our absence communicates that we don’t care.
Our holy prayer clusters are important. Our fellowship circles strengthen our resolve to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. But then we must move out from those comfortable places to take action in the world to care for the oppressed and to work to right the wrongs of social injustice. This was Christ’s mission on earth as expressed at the outset of his ministry in Luke 4:18-21.
As Christians we are called to act out our faith. In fact, the apostle Paul states in Galatians 5:6, “The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself in love.” And James says, “What good is it, my brothers, if a person claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
Perhaps we are spending too much time in holy huddles and not enough time serving in food pantries and shelters or joining with others to bring education and business opportunities to impoverished communities. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- When was the last time you shared a meal with a poor person?
- What cause or causes are you presently engaged in?
- How many people in your network are from races and socioeconomic groups that are different from yours?
- What is stopping you from getting involved in a movement that is working for compassion and justice?