The question recently came up at a Bible Study I attended as to whether Christians really are being the light Jesus called us to be.
There was a moment of silence as we all pondered that question.
Eventually, a discussion arose and there were mentions of how the media portrays Christians and its general unwillingness to portray followers of Jesus in a positive light, so most people really don’t know what those being Christ’s hands and feet are truly doing.
While that’s true, it’s also important to remember that one of the principles Christians adhere to is:
"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” (Matthew 6:2 NIV)
So, our giving and our work is intentionally outside the spotlight—as it should be.
At the same time, that makes it easy to believe Christians really don’t do much to help others.
That’s simply not true.
Internet searches to try and nail down exactly how many dollars are given in Jesus’ name or how many lives are benefitted by people being His hands and feet don’t bring forth raw data very readily at all.
Only when I pulled up a list of America’s top 50 charities did I find that the vast majority are either Christian now or were when they originated—but that information doesn’t reveal itself until you start digging into the history and the mission statements of the individual charities.
When I started really digging into it, I found charities like Compassion International, Food for the Hungry, World Vision, Samaritans Purse, and many, many others that feed millions and millions of starving children all over the world. And, they don’t stop there. Those same organizations cure disease, bring clean drinking water, shelter and clothe people, educate and house the needy, fight injustice, lift people up, fight abuse and violence, offer disaster relief, and help in thousands of ways all around the world, seemingly without end.
And those four organizations are just a tiny fraction of the organizations out there being the light. There are thousands more.
Dr. Alex McFarland, a Christian author and religion and culture expert, points out that the majority of the hospitals and school systems (including America's ivy league schools) – were all originally founded by churches and Christians.
Sure, people calling themselves “Christians” have done some pretty lousy things over the span of human history, (The Crusades and The Inquisitions come to mind.) but let us not forget that the Abolition of Slavery was a Christian movement and that Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership of the Civil Rights Movement was based on his Christian beliefs.
And, when it comes right down to it, the real light that shines from Jesus isn’t about mass-market numbers anyway. There are no billboards that say, “Have Salvation Your Way!” or “You Deserve Eternal Life Today.”
Jesus died for everyone on that cross, but souls come to Him one at a time, on a personal level.
It could be from our own witness, from the joy and love evident in all we do and say, from preaching in your local church, from the pages of the Bible, and even from what goes forth over the airwaves of a Christian radio station.
Yes, there are polls and research that say we don’t know enough about God’s Word and we could certainly give a lot more of our time and financial support to the cause of Christ, and they are true.
We can and should so better.
But, take heart my friends. Jesus is alive and well. The light does still shine in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. (Titus 2:14 NLT)