God has provided enormous blessings to today’s Christian church in the Western world. We enjoy amazing freedom, resources, and opportunity. Yet world poverty and Christian persecution endures. Why has God blessed our churches in such times? God’s call to Abraham gives us insight: “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2).
Our country, our churches, and our families have been blessed in order to be a blessing to the world. Are we using those resources to bless the world? Many of us have lost our biblical perspective. Our Western brand of Christianity is increasingly out of touch with our brothers and sisters across the globe.
If you make $49,802 per year (average income in the United States) you earn more money than 99 percent of the world’s population. If your family earns $23,050 per year (U.S. poverty level for family of four) you are in the top 19 percent of the world’s richest people. More than one-half of the world’s population lives below the internationally defined poverty line of less than $2 a day. We are the richest church in the history of the world.
The gifts we have been given were not intended to merely provide us comfort and security, but instead used to better serve those in need. Our Christian brothers and sisters are struggling. Every year more than 100,000 Christians are killed for what they believe. Today 200 million Christians in 60 countries are denied basic human rights because of their faith. Today 300 million people don’t have a Bible available in their own language. Can’t we afford to do more? As Tim Keller tells us, “Because Jesus served you in such a radical way, you have a joyful need to serve.”
Why We’re Blessed
Paul told the Christians in Corinth, “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11). God does not need us to expand his kingdom, but he has blessed us with the extreme privilege of sharing his name with the world. Our goal, in everything we do, is to glorify God. We are to bless the world and expand the reach of the gospel. God did not give us good health and resources so we could spoil ourselves. Use all God has given you to expand his kingdom and share his Word.
Doctor, teacher, and janitor is not your only calling. Those are not only the ways you serve your fellow man but also the means God has given to provide his mercy and love to others. “One of the worst things we can ever do,” R.C. Sproul tells us, “is to waste the gifts that God has given to us.” Our time, our resources, and our heart should be diverted away from primarily seeking our own pleasure and comfort and toward expanding God’s kingdom and glory. Serving the poor is not about sympathy for their condition, it is also sharing the gifts we were given when God had mercy for our condition.
James taught the early church, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). Serving the needy around the world or on your block is the calling of every Christian. When God places a needy stranger in your path he is giving you the opportunity to show that person the grace and mercy of Jesus. Giving a coat or a sandwich to the destitute is like giving a piece of the new heart you have been given from Christ.
Bless the World
God has richly blessed our Western churches and families. Augustine told us we can enjoy God’s blessings, but we must share them in God’s name: “Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.” We must use God’s resources for what they were intended: God’s glory in the world. God’s grace and mercy poured out on us should create Christians devoted to blessing the world in God’s name.
Giving our leftovers was not the goal when God called for us to give our lives. Make a sacrifice in your life today to better enable the expansion of the gospel into the world. When you give dignity, mercy, love, justice, charity, and respect to others you are letting them see Christ in your words and actions. We must not lose sight of why God has blessed us so richly. Paul reminds us: “who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
The late Adrian Rogers said, “You cannot obey God without your obedience spilling out in a blessing to all those around you.” Let’s strive to bless the world with the blessings God has given us.