Slickdrums Chronicles

AvatarSwim Against The Grain..



Overfeed the church or Feed the Hungry?

Was forwarded a letter by a good Christian friend who sent it to a leader of his church. It's a real astounding "Get-In-Your-Face" type of letter that makes you think really what's important and what's not in our christian faith.

Lot's of churches organise major mundo convention type of events where they bring ALL the daughter churches and ministers at one place.

Not that this is wrong or unbiblical.

The issue is really having them at hotels where people pay a few hundred to participate (due to hotel accomodation, food, materials).

Read on and discover God's truth on whether we ought to overfeed the church or should we really Feed the Hungry?

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Dear reader,
What you are about to read is not meant to hurt or insinuate anything. Clearly my intentions are to bring light into what you may or may not already know. What has been written here is sincerely out of my heart and a deep concern for all of us. Our direction and our motives as a whole have been tainted by our lack of foresight and selfless feelings regardless of the obvious duties set before us.


I sense that we may have lost the very essence of what God has placed in our hearts from the very beginning. Our need to have the church organized has eluded our eyes from the obvious reality around us. Blinded by our sense of unity we pursue the minor things and neglect the majors. To this extend, we as Christians have failed. It saddens me to find that many do not even realize the gravity of this issue. I have struggled with this myself. And I find it even difficult to get this message across. I pray that my efforts in getting this through to you would not be in vain.


I also pray that you or anyone reading this will find it in their heart to forgive my sometimes crude and harsh words. I have made my request known to God and I find it releasing to write what is in my heart the way I see it. I hope you see it too.


And so it begins,


Personally, I find that the very idea of organizing a church-wide event (such as National Conventions) as big as this is honestly, a huge waste of good christian resources. Frankly, I understand the need for us to congregate once every year, to share our experiences with our beloved brothers and sisters, and also to encourage one another to keep moving on with God. To fan the flame, so to speak. As important as it may be, that should not and can not be our sole priority.


So why is it a bad use of resources? Well for starters, we Christians are hypocrites! HYPOCRITES! Oh dear, now I've really stirred the hornets nest. Please, Please follow me with this. I take it we all know that the fee for being part of the MNC is about RM200-300. I understand that the upcoming 2009 event will require us to spend RM260. The actual amount may vary depending on where you are coming from, North South East or West, Peninsular or Island, Adult, Students or Children. All-in-all you get the idea.


Brothers and sisters, hypothetically speaking, lets assume that we all spend a minimum of RM200 to be at that event. RM200 multiplied by, say on an average of 1000 attendees, transforms that small fee into a whooping RM200,000.


Wow! I could not believe it at first, but I have come to realize that the numbers don't lie. Humans do. But numbers are pure, they do not know how to even if they wanted to. But seriously, that's a lot of dough. I guess the true demons of big events such as this are hotel accommodations, hall rentals, sound system, projectors and logistics. Minus all of that, we COULD if we wanted to, actually feed a whole lot of needy people for God knows how long. Picture this, We could make a lot of people happy with RM200,000. We could demonstrate to them the ever loving nature of God.


And you know what, what surprises me even more is that we have been religiously attending all these functions, all these years on the pretense of seeking an encounter with God Almighty and nothing could be farther from the truth! But OH MY GOD, we could be bringing God to the needy, but in our ignorance, we chose to exchange that awesome experience with something far less. You know what, we have shortchanged ourselves, and we do not have a clue about it.


Some are there simply because of the hype attached to it, while others received strong encouragements our church leaders have created in order to get the flock to attend:
It's bib-li-cal!
The Israelite's did it!
God commands it!
You need to put your trust in God!
You wanna meet God?! Then put your faith into action!
Come and be blessed!
You have got to be an example for the others!
It's your responsibility to be there!


My brothers and sisters, we are far from how the early church lived their lives. The Apostles, The heroes of the faith namely, Wesley, Luther, Graham, Bonke, and Wilkerson, to name a few,  lived their lives worthy of our Lord Jesus himself. We on the other hand live in absurd luxury, big events, ample hall space, air conditioners, leisure activities, and of course good food. We have forgotten the real reason for Jesus' redemptive death on the cross.


We pay a Kings ransom to be at these events, and yet we think thrice to part with our resources, to feed the under resourced. I'd say, in a shameful way, we are all hypocrites, and I would not be far from the truth. And the truth hurts. Sometimes we, me included, have got to hear the truth no matter how we feel about it.


I believe, Jesus jump-started His ministry here on earth, by outwardly proclaiming that he had been sent by the Father to bring the good news to the under resourced and those who are less fortunate who are usually considered outsiders in society. Check out Luke 4:18-19. Every area of Jesus' ministry and teaching centers in on His concern and  compassion for them. Matthew 25 relates that our relationship with the under resourced is a reflection of our relationship with God the Father.


M't:25:35: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
M't:25:36: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
M't:25:37: Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
M't:25:38: When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
M't:25:39: Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
M't:25:40: And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. KJV


Clearly Jesus was identifying himself with whom he calls the least of these my brethren. I guess we ought to emulate the Lord. If we call ourselves Christians, then we should be followers of Christ and Christ demonstrated how we ought to live.


At this point, you could either choose to consider what I have wrote, or you could delete this letter. But believe me when I say that sooner or later people will come to question the purpose of these events. What would your response be then? I do hope your conscience is clear. Pray about it! Honestly ask if it is what God is speaking. I just chose to speak what is in my heart. You are a man of God. What is God speaking to you?

--

What my good brother has mentioned above makes incredible sense! Is it more important to have national type of church events where a massive amount of RM200k per year is forked, and if you calculate it over 5 yrs - a staggering RM1mil, or, perhaps use that RM200k per year to help the malnourished families, the orphans, the widows, the old folks, the young single mothers, pastors & families in rural areas, ministries struggling to stay alive and others who are in dire need of help?

 

Have a blast!

SD