[photopress:streamsbookpicture.jpg,full,alignleft]The Fourth StreamThe Social Justice Tradition: Discovering the Compassionate Life
I have heard of missions trips where the sole purpose is to build a building. I always used to think how worthless a task like that was. I mean, if you’re going on a missions trip, you ought to be leading people to Christ. What good is the missions trip if just building a building and not leading anybody to Jesus?
The Bible’s Amos spent his time declaring justice. He pointed things out like slavery, … well… I’ll let you read it for yourself:
Amos 2:6-8 God’s Message:
“Because of the three great sins of Israel
—make that four—I’m not putting up with them any longer.
They buy and sell upstanding people.
People for them are only things—ways of making money.
They’d sell a poor man for a pair of shoes.
They’d sell their own grandmother!
They grind the penniless into the dirt,
shove the luckless into the ditch.
Everyone and his brother sleeps with the ‘sacred whore’—
a sacrilege against my Holy Name.
Stuff they’ve extorted from the poor
is piled up at the shrine of their god,
While they sit around drinking wine
they’ve conned from their victims.
Amos proclaimed how God felt about these blatent injustices and other types of injustices as well.
When there is a social injustice, the Christian has a responsibility to fix it. God is very clear how he feels about injustices in businesses, in the church, and in socioeconomic statuses. If we are the body, then His hands ought to be reaching out to bring justice where there is none.
I went to Honduras several years back and teamed up with Youth For Christ (Juventud Para Cristo, as they called it). We visited one small village – not even a village – a pueblo. It had been struck by a hurricane a year previously. All the people there had lost all their homes, but American’s, with Youth For Christ, had came and built new houses for all the people there. When I heard of this, my preconcieved thoughts flooded my mind. Until I saw the outcome.
Before the hurricane, this remote village had no religious contact. When I saw it (after the houses were built), there was a large tent at the top of the village’s hill labeled, “Youth For Christ Church.” As I looked around the houses, I saw every 6 or 7 houses were labeled “Youth For Christ Group #X.” After inquiring about these, it was explained to me that the people in the villiage all met in the group houses every night for a small group discussion. That community had experienced God – everyone had.
And it was all because some expressed their worship to God by being His hands and they came and they built houses. Little did they know the impact those buildings would have.