The Need is Not the Call
"The need is not the call." -Reinhard Bonnke
Have you ever wondered what separates humanitarians and followers of Jesus?
As the Church, we've often presented ourselves to society as a place of charity and nothing more. While it's certainly scriptural for us to feed the hungry and clothe the poor, motivation matters.
When people sign up to mentor vulnerable youth, hand out warm food to the impoverished, or even do international missions work, it's often applauded by Christians and non-Christians alike. Caring for one another has great value; but when we strip down to the heart of the matter, how do we differ?
Though I can only offer one point of view here, I'd venture to say that humanitarians are simply motivated by need. There is something inside them (a gift from God, no doubt) to care for those less fortunate. So how is our motivation different as Christians?
We should be motivated by the call of Jesus, the compassion that we ourselves received but were not worthy of, the value of human life as Jesus died to save, Kingdom expansion and giving glory to God. Without first receiving the supernatural love of Christ, we cannot offer the kind of love that truly brings freedom and lasting change. Giving and loving in our own limited human strength is a band-aid at best.
It's not my intention to tear down non-profits and social organizations, but rather to illustrate that as Christians, our message, our solution, the hope we share is unmatched and it's time to be unapologetic about it. We are not the same.
The danger with being motivated by need (an understandable trap that many believers fall into), is that it likely leads to burn out and ineffectiveness. This foundation of needs-driven ministry emphasizes results-based metrics. Instead of measuring our success by obedience and following the very specific leading of Holy Spirit, we're tempted to wave our statistics as a banner of our own victory.
"We must go where God sends us, speak what He gives us to speak, hear His voice and obey it - this is our best protection from burnout. It will also guide us to the very best strategy for accomplishing His mission." - Reinhard Bonkke
A quick Google search will prove that our world is hurting and broken. Without a doubt, we need to respond and bear one another's burdens. However, there is no solution, no true freedom, no true kindness nor pure compassion without Christ.
Let us be fueled with passion for Jesus to love our neighbors, intently listening to His voice, being led by His invitation. It is His joy to include us in His mission, but make no mistake, He doesn't need our help. He is less concerned with what we can do for Him than what we do with Him. We must say "no" to many good things so that we can say "yes" to the things He has uniquely called each of us to do.
By remembering that the need is not the call, we can expect to grow in intimacy with our King as we lean in to hear His voice more often. We can also expect to be far more effective in loving others supernaturally, meeting practical, emotional, relational and spiritual needs, and furthering God's Kingdom.