Monday, March 10, 2008

what is your cause?

On Facebook there is a section on the profile page where you can say what "causes" you support. And more and more this generation is interested in supporting non-profit type causes, which address various needs in the world. It is great to watch more and more people get involved in caring for the "least of these" in our world.

My hope, however, is that these would never be divorced from the most important cause of all.

I hope that all of us "activist-type," young Christians would keep in mind that our lives need to be about more than just meeting people's physical needs. The purpose for our lives should not be limited to charity. There are more vital issues at stake in our world.

I am afraid that my generation of Christians is in danger of slipping into a "social gospel" that produces no real life-change. As we feed, clothe and care for the poor, let us not fall into a materialistic worldview that makes "material" things the most important thing.

A human being is much more than the food they eat or the clothes they wear. There is a brokenness within people's inner-being that needs to be healed. And this brokenness can't be healed with fundraisers, donations, food drives, telethons, celebrity advocates, benefit concerts, vaccines, clean water or retro-viral drugs.

So many charities, non-profits, and "causes" find ingenious ways to address people's physical needs. And this should continue. But let us not forget the only "cause" that addresses people's real inner needs.

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi and mentioned two women who helped him in ministry. And he said that these women, "contended at my side in the cause of the gospel" (Phil. 4:3).

This is the cause above all other causes. This is the only cause that addresses the whole person. The cause of Christ is the one "cause" that can bring healing to a person's body, soul and mind. And because it is the only truly holistic cause, it is the only cause that has the power to heal societies and nations.

So don't believe the lie that you have to donate to a charity in Africa to make a difference in the world. The two most powerful acts that will bring societal transformation are to love God with all that we are and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

When you love someone in your small group, you change the world. When you worship, you celebrate the cause that will never end. When you tithe to the church, you give to the most important cause in the world.

All other causes should find themselves under the umbrella of this one cause. People who have lost hope need more than just food and healthcare. They need the hope of a new life in Christ. So your cause and mine, above all, should be the cause of the gospel.


At 2:04 PM, Blogger jake potter said...

great post! that is exactly where I am at! I love every word of it!

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Hey jake,
You found me! I guess you are a blogger as well.

I am tempted, next time someone asks me what my job is, to say, "I am a personal lobbyist." And then clarify with, "I am an advocate for the greatest cause known to humanity."

And if they ask me questions about what that might be, I will just smile back and say, "You don't want to know... Really... You don't want to know."

If they press me further, I might say, "I am an activist for a cause which has freed more people from addiction, helped more people out of poverty, healed more broken hearts, repaired more broken marriages, offered more people hope and given more people a better life than any other cause in the history of the world."

If they are still interested after all of that, I may finally let them in on the secret. I'll say, "I am a lobbyist for the Kingdom of God. I am an activist for the cause of Christ. I am an advocate for the hands and feet of Jesus on earth - the church."

At 7:04 AM, Blogger jake potter said...

I don't think I blog as well as you! but check it out sometime!


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