I recently read a story about a man who was out on New Year’s Eve, he was on his way to a party but some hooligans viciously attacked & mugged him before running off with his wallet and phone. The man was lying on the floor and the following was captured on a local shops CCTV system.

The shop was opposite a local church and there was a midnight mass/watchnight service scheduled, the cameras recorded someone in a “dog-collar”, who was later identified as the minister of the nearby church. The minister spotted the man and then looked at his watch and ran off in the direction of the church.  When questioned why this was, the minister replied “I was running late for the meeting and I thought someone else would surely notice him, I didn’t have time to stop!”

Another person was recorded next coming into view of the cameras, they were later identified as the church band leader, they were later questioned and gave a similar excuse as the minister!

Then a last person was recorded on the CCTV, they stopped, got down near to the floor, spoke to the injured man and then got the attention of a taxi driver, they managed to get the man into the taxi. Further video footage traced the taxi to the local private hospital.

When the police investigated the events of the evening, they were suprised to discover that the “good samaritan” was well-known in the town as drug addict who got into a lot of trouble, he reportedly paid for the deposit for the hospital stay and promised to come back and pay the final amount when the man was well enough to leave!

How would you react in that situation? Too many of us would not intervene in stopping a fight starting if we were “out in town” in the evening, yet Jesus said “blessed are the peacemakers!” With the backlash most of us would expect, from shouting “Oi, leave them alone!” We are wary of stepping in, many of us now have done some sort of “first-aid” training so might be more likely to try and help an injured person than in Jesus’ day, but paying for a hospital stay out of your own pocket who would do that?!

A lot of us are “watching the pennies” and “tightening our belts” as the global financial situation has affected all of us in some way or another, charities are suffering as they are generally the first thing people stop spending money on, governments are having to cut back on the amount of grants they can give too!  The distance between the world’s richest and the world’s poorest is widening every day! I came across the global rich list and was shocked to discover that I am in the top 8%! and my annual wages are nowhere near a six figure sum! According to the site 3 billion people survive on less than 2 dollars a day! That’s approximately 3 out of every 7 people!

I know that there are thousands of different charities, all with there own benevolent purpose, but the questions to consider are:-

  1. is just giving enough?
  2. Is just tweeting enough?
  3. Is praying enough?
  4. Which do you give to?
  5. Should the charities that have a medical element be supported most by the national government (if not global when talking about the developing world)?

In my opinion just giving money is not enough (give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime!), tweeting about or even changing your photo on Facebook (Boo hiss!!) for a cause is not enough (I have done it in the past, but now not so sure why?), Praying alone is not enough, in James 2:15-16, the bible says

“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”

Which charity do you support? If you are anything like my gran was you would support every charity that put a request in the door, when she passed away, my parents went through the process of informing those sending her letters that she was “no longer at that address” and when they came across the bank statements they were full of direct debits to charities! I think she ended up on a “list” of people who would donate to anyone but maybe i am being cynical!  I personally would only support a charity that means something to me, that I feel would use the money productively.

Jesus challenge and mine too, is for us to think how we can help others with what we do have and deliberately ignore the “poverty” and “need” around us that we have the resources/abilities/time to help reduce if not solve!

Please watch & listen to this video