Reading a book recently by an author I respect and enjoy led me to pause and rusty wheels began to turn. Every generation has certain general characteristics in which one can be proud or, well, not so proud. Without getting bogged down in those details, my generation (20s-30s or Millennials) have one characteristic I find positive and appealing: the desire to see justice prevail and poverty thwarted. This plays out well in the church because of a definite thread throughout Scripture highlighting God’s heart for the poor and unjustly treated. Reading the book I mentioned earlier, the author spent significant time citing statistics bringing to light serious social issues in the world. He pleaded for believers to care and act.
The problem that seemed to rise from these pages as well as many others is a theme often left out of the passionate pleas to action: sharing the gospel. While it may sound old-fashioned or pushy, it is the reason we go. Jesus Christ is the reason we care.
John 4 tells a magnificent story of cultures colliding at a water well of all places. At about noon (the wrong time to be at the well) Jesus met a peculiar woman who most likely visited the well during off hours to avoid troublesome conversations. She had no idea the encounter that day would change her life, especially when she approached the well and saw a Jew sitting close by. The Jews and Samaritans had longstanding cultural issues but Jesus was about to break those at the local watering hole. The story unfolds and Jesus challenges the woman with a simple statement, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I give him will never thirst again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14
We must not forget to carry eternal water when we dig temporal water wells in villages that need fresh drinking water. We must not forget to carry the gospel when we carry the sick to treatment. We must not forget to give the Bread of Life when we give bread for sustinence. Otherwise, we missed the point that Jesus made. He could have given her a nalgene bottle that never ran dry but essentially nothing would have changed.
It is good to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison and the sick. Jesus commanded us to do these things. But our purpose is to share Him as we do them. See let us not cease in doing good and never rob the good of its platform for eternal change – through a relationship with Jesus Christ.