A few months ago, I wrote a blog called "What Does the Bible Say About Relief & Development?” There I made the claim, “...the Bible is significant and it has a significant amount to say about Relief and Development.” And, I’ll be the first to take the title “Captain Obvious” on that one. But, looking back now, I feel like I short changed part of the conversation. Even though I quoted what probably seemed like half the Bible in that blog, I left out an important element: “Application.”
Our challenge is always to put what we learn to good use. After all, decent theology is applied theology. But, it remains a challenge. It’s easy to acknowledge that helping the poor is a good idea. But, it is much more difficult to take action. Helping means sacrifice. It means letting go of something to make room in your life for a different way.
“Evangelical theology is distinctive because it is pre-eminently personal.” – Gerald Bray, The Doctrine of God
The personal implications are world shaking. So, I’d like to leave you with some questions—questions that urge application. It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced missionary, a pastor, or a new Christian; there is always room to assess how you are doing when it comes to God’s work in the world.
A Brief Self Check Up
1. How does my understanding of Relief and Development deepen my relationship with God?
- When you know more about His interests, how do they change you?
2. How does my understanding of Relief and Development deepen my relationships with other people?
- Am I more compassionate, more aware of their needs?
3. How should my prayers reflect God’s concern for the poor, needy, oppressed and destitute?
- We are commanded to care for them. Does your prayer life reflect that intention?
4. Is my worship more than just words?
- Am I willing to sacrifice something? Time, money, effort?
5. Do I give God the glory for His work in the world?
- Remember, it’s not my work. It’s not your work. It’s all Him.
6. Do I make a habit of praising God for His successes?
- When someone gets a house, or medical treatment, or food; have I recognized that? Or, did I just move on to the next task?
7. How can I follow the example of Jesus as He interacted with the poor?
- We aren’t short on material here. How can we model Jesus?
8. Finally, what does a good theology of Relief and Development look like in my life?
- It’s all good on paper but how do I make it real?
These questions are meant to help sharpen your relationship with God. Pray about them and ask them authentically. If you do, you might find yourself experiencing growth. You might even find the world around you shifting for the better.