I just finished a Facebook exchange with a Talluri Roni Joseph, a pastor in a third world country who cares for orphans.  I have talked to him several times and each conversation leads to an “ask“.  He pleads with me for money to help with the orphans.  This is “pure and undefiled religion” according to James.  I think he may be for real.  I think these orphans may be for real … there certainly are far too many in our broken world.

Each time I tell him that I would donate if he could establish a relationship with a credible organization, through which I could give.  Otherwise I won’t.  I know of too many, relatives even, who have been scammed out of thousands of dollars over the internet.

Today, he told me that God would send me to hell for failing to respond to his need and then he blocked me.  My wife and I have always been involved in organizations like Compassion because we know that what leaves our hands, finds its way into the hands of those who need it most.

I hope God doesn’t sent me to hell for failing this person.

What I forget is that I have no contact with this person and no knowledge of the situation directly.  All that I can say for sure is that there is someone typing back at me from “God knows where“.  

But I still feel bad.

I feel bad because I have so much and others have so little.  Comparatively speaking, I have nothing … nothing to complain about.  I feel bad because I can’t share the biblical testimony of Psalms 37:25, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread.”

I think I have seen that.  Not forsaken spiritually, but seemingly neglected by both God and man.  And I have seen them begging.  As little as my wife and I are doing, we are responding at some level but it seems so minor in the face of such great need.  And I still feel guilty. 

There are people that I see everyday, whose circumstances may not be so stark as the orphaned third world but they need help as well.  Sometimes I am able and other times I find myself a penniless beggar as well. Nothing to give.

Peter and John, going to the temple to pray, encountered a man who went there daily, a regular attendee.  But he wasn’t there to pray.  He was there to beg for money enough to survive.  I am certain that Peter and John must have seen him there before.  Perhaps on other days they had silver and/or gold and likely tossed coins his way.  But this day, they had nothing except a prayer … and they prayed it. 

“In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

I wonder if they were as surprised as he was?  I’ve prayed prayers before and then been shocked, even surprised when God answered them.

It is sad when you think that a man could have been coming to the temple, the church, for years, looking for financial help when his greatest need was something else.  It is sad when you think that believers respond financially as though that were the greatest thing that we could do for people.  

If Peter and John were carrying cash that day, what might have happened?  They would have flipped a couple coins his way and nothing would have been different … just like they may have done times before.

Lord help us not to spend our lives trying to deal with issues that are not the main pain.  Help us not to fasten our hopes on the resources and generosity of others when our help comes from You.  Help Talluri Roni Joseph and the orphans that he cares for.

“Such as I have, give I unto thee … “

 

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