About six or seven years ago, I found myself sitting in a chair with tears in my eyes as I heard the stories of women who were rescued from human trafficking. These stories were of women who were taken as sex slaves and someones else had risked their life to rescue them. The woman who was speaking was representing her ministry and explaining how their ministry rescued and provided loving rehab to these women in the name of Christ. They would slowly gain trust with the women and let them experience true love. A part of their rehab was teaching them skills that would make them employable or allow them to start their own business. One of the skills they were taught was making jewelry. For many women, the story of the Gospel took hold in their hearts because they knew that these people in the ministry really cared about them. This ministry saw the need for justice and did what they could to give hope to the hopeless. Justice, mercy, and faithfulness - three words that change lives. Jesus stressed the importance of justice, mercy, and faithfulness in Matthew 23:23-24.
In these two verses Jesus told us that it is important to tithe, but it is equally as important to show justice, mercy, and faithfulness. He then used a parable telling them that they are straining out a gnat out of their water (a gnat was forbidden to eat), yet they were eating a camel (also forbidden to eat). He was showing them that they were being careful on one point of the law while forgetting something big that was so important to God's heart. So, if we are doing all the right things, but we are not concerned with the injustices of the world, we are forgetting what God feels is important. If we are doing all the right things, but not showing mercy by forgiving or caring for someone else, we have forgotten God's heart. If we are doing a lot of good things but we are unfaithful in other things, we have forgotten that God has shown us amazing faithfulness to us, mere humans.
My husband made an interesting point about the sequester we are experiencing here in America - we can make cuts in programs like Head Start which helps the poor and we don't yell until our air travel is effected. Just because we don't all feel the pain of cuts in certain areas doesn't mean we shouldn't care. God wants us to care! If our taxes cannot cover the cost, what can the church do? What can we do as a body of believers to make a difference for those in need? There are so many needs and it can seem overwhelming, but God also is so creative that He created this entire world. All we need to do is ask Him to inspire that creativity in us so we can show justice, mercy, and faithfulness. God wants to use each of to make a difference in this world - one life at a time.
What does God want you to do?
This post is linked with Thought Provoking Thursday.