Sunday, May 25, 2014

Spiritual hunger 5/5/2014

It is May 5th at 9:35.  I'm about two miles west of Odessa, MO sitting on the side of the freeway in the shade.  It's not a very hot day, which is good.  As I have been reflecting on conversations I've had with people along the way I have started to notice a theme that is emerging.  I don't even know how to explain it yet, but I see a problem. The problem I see is that people care so much about the physical needs of those in need, that they forget about their spiritual needs as well.  They think the answer is to throw money at the problem.  Even this morning as I am walking between Bates City and Odessa, I met a gentleman with a similar hypothesis.  That if we send enough money to all the countries in need, then no one would ever suffer. He literally said. "If Bill Gates and Apple and Starbucks and all these major corporations gave half of their profit or something like that to organizations overseas, then we could solve the world's problems".  The idea that if their physical needs are met, then the world's problems would go away is just completely wrong.  The Bible says that man will not live on bread alone, but by the Word of God (Matthew 4:4).

Matthew 4:4

New International Version (NIV)
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

In fact, I'm reminded of a story where there are these two guys and this sick man and they carry him to go see Jesus. Jesus is in this house and it's completely packed out.  They thought, there is no way we are going to be able to get to see him.  So, what they did was they tore the tiles off the roof and they lowered the man in through the roof.  They lowered him down to see Jesus and the first thing Jesus said to him was, "Your sins are forgiven."  (Luke 5:19)

Luke 5:18-20

18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

He deals with the spiritual matter of the heart first and then he heals him; and then he takes care of his physical needs.

Luke 5:22-25

22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God

  What I think sets Uzima apart from a lot of organizations or a lot of different humanitarian efforts, is that we/they care for the entire child; the entire person.   We take care of their physical and spiritual needs at the same time, but our main focus is on nurturing their spiritual needs.

 I was speaking with a lady at a restaurant called Hot Pot Cafe in Blue Springs, MO.  She was telling me a story about how she was helping out someone by paying their rent and buying groceries.  She said something really insightful, "You know, it seemed like they were always looking for the hand of God, but not the face of God."  That kind of struck me. I have never heard that before. I thought of my own needs. I don't want to be always looking for a hand-out from the Lord instead of a relationship.

 This is my point. I am a firm believer that you need to deal with both the physical and spiritual malnutrition when it comes to helping those in need.  You need to provide for the physical needs, but first and foremost the spiritual needs. An emphasis, I believe, on the spiritual needs.

A final thought. I think that when we just go overseas or we go on a mission trip and we just take care of their physical needs as in, we build them a house, or we give them food, we reduce that person to a one dimensional person.  That they are just matter.  That they are just a culmination of physical desires and needs and it's not based on the total character, the total person; mind, body and spirit.  Uzima, Needle2Square, our total purpose is mind, body, spirit with a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE emphasis on the spiritual aspect of a man.  There is a hunger within a man that is much, much stronger than an appetite for food.  There is an emptiness that food can't help.  There is an emptiness and a hunger that's more than just the stomach, it comes from the spirit.  There is the spiritual hunger that we need to feed.

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