Be a Doer
It seems like every time I see or hear the news of the world on TV, radio or through social media, I become saddened and feel somewhat helpless. The turmoil in Afghanistan, earthquake in Haiti, a hurricane destroying the New Orleans region again, and, of course, the increasing numbers of people contracting COVID-19 as a result of the Delta variant. Quite frankly, all of this seems like a nightmare. Can’t we see and hear about something positive? Sure we can. Perhaps by turning the channels or clicking on a different link. Nevertheless, we cannot ignore these bad things that are happening to good people.
As people of faith, we are strengthened by the assurance of salvation and eternal life in the kingdom of God. But, as people – human beings - we still feel powerless for our sisters and brothers whose lives have been devastated. When I was growing up, I knew about disasters, but now the 24-hour news cycle (social media) has exposed every detail of these horrible tragedies. For our own sanity, some of us turn off the TV or choose a different website. But that is just an escape and doesn’t change the narrative. What can we do to help?
As James writes in his letter to first-century Christians, “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves,” (James 1:22). With that great lesson in mind, let us focus on one of these disasters – the earthquake in Haiti. The quake and its aftershocks have left almost 1,300 people dead, thousands more injured and an unknown number of people are still missing. At least 13,000 homes were destroyed and roads, bridges, and communication systems have been severely damaged.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is a wonderful mission-based organization that is providing emergency relief and short-term recovery in the impacted areas of Haiti. PDA embodies James’ plea to Christians to “be doers of the word.” Now we have the opportunity to help. We are not powerless. If you feel called to give some kind of financial assistance to help PDA in its efforts to aid the people of Haiti, please visit https://pda.pcusa.org/situation/haiti/
Of course, understanding that our human abilities to help others has its limits, the blessing of prayer is an important gift from God. I am currently reading a book titled, The Power of Weakness by Dan Schaeffer, pastor and author. The premise of the book is that God uses our human weaknesses to bring out God’s power in our lives. In other words, by being vulnerable, we demonstrate that we truly need God’s love and power. Of course, admitting our weaknesses is difficult (for a number of reasons as the book reveals). However, once we admit our weaknesses, vulnerabilities, fears and anxieties to God through prayer, we allow God to use our weaknesses for a greater divine purpose.
The apostle Paul was a great example of using weaknesses for God’s greater glory. In fact, in 2 Corinthians 11:30, Paul wrote, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” By his own admission, Paul was an untrained speaker (2 Corinthians 11:6). Also, according to Schaeffer, Paul was physically weak, admittedly fearful and even trembling. Despite all of these inadequacies, God chose Paul to lead the early churches in cities like Corinth. Why? In order to demonstrate how the power of God can turn weaknesses into productive ways to share the ministry of Jesus Christ with others.
Yes, there is still the doom and gloom of natural disasters, international chaos, and the spread of COVID-19. As a humanity, one of our weaknesses is the feeling of helplessness and a lack of control. However, by admitting this weakness through the power of prayer, we can reflect the compassion and grace of Jesus Christ and “be doers of the word,” thus allowing God to turn our helplessness into ways of helping others in their incredible times of need!
Pastor Bill Rogers