Sep 21, 2009

BIBLICAL THEMES from the Book "Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger"

Even though it is clear I have many disagreements with this work (I actually left many of them out), overall, I would recommend this book to everyone. Why? Simple - the overall message is so spot on and under heard that we in the West must absolutely be confronted with it and do something.

Any caring person should be able to read this book and get something very important from it, regardless of how much they may not like some of the author’s opinions here out there. Again, the central thesis and final aim of the book is so significant that one can overlook the flaws and focus on the main point and be challenged to go do the right thing.

One obvious biblical theme from the book is simply that of going into all the world. This of course is laid out in Matthew 28:19-20, amongst other places. It makes extra sense to take God’s love and truth into some of the countries because of the immense need there.

Some people who have very little in terms of possessions or creature comforts but find their satisfaction in God. We in the West would do well to learn from their great Christ-like examples. We must discipline ourselves enough to be willing to forgo a life of luxury and ease for the sake of the Gospel and to help others who have much more basic needs. The (materially) rich can often learn some things from the (materially) poor in this area, to be sure.

Another great truth evident from the book is the idea of counting the cost and giving your all. Many missionaries exemplify this command from Christ to us. Many of the believers in these impoverished areas of the globe also exemplify this command. As they face persecution, uncertain futures, starvation and death, they really must learn what it is to trust Christ in every way, without reservation.

The difference for us in the West is that we have so many distractions and security nets that we have a sense of self-sufficiency and control so we often act as if we “need” God less than we actually do. Often we in the West are living in an illusion of control and independence whereas the person in a less developed country may be closer to comprehending the reality of all humanity’s situation.

Here is an example from one modern day missionary journal I read:

“Maybe that is why God calls the poor "blessed", maybe this is why Americans struggle so much to give on the same level as the Africans here, maybe this is why Jesus told his disciples to give everything away to follow him and to serve others.” (July 13, 2007).

There is also a huge social justice factor shining throughout the book. As we with means see the powerless in other situations suffer from injustice, we should strive to not only help them in the short-term but also work to rectify the factors that set up the initial conditions for such injustice to flourish.

A sort of direct proportional relationship should exist in a Christian’s life: the more temporal power they possess, the more they should be doing to help rectify this world’s wrong done to the weak and the powerless. This puts the onus on us.

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