Mark 1.41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed. [nkjv]
I am constantly blown away by the amount of money people spend on their wedding. In the USA there are around 2.5 million weddings every year with the average budget for each wedding being estimated at $20,000. That’s a cool $40 billion dollars spent on weddings each year in America! And there are those who believe this number could be as high as $70 billion a year.
Here in Australia things aren’t that much different. Recent figures show the average cost of saying ‘I do’ has reached $28,700. Last year in Australia we spent $3.8 billion on weddings.
In the spring of 2007, Michigan residents Christine Bouwkamp and Kyle Kramer got married. They made a decision to break with tradition and forgo an expensive sit down reception. Instead they calculated what they would have spent and used that money to purchase groceries. In the weeks leading up to the wedding, they spread the word that a truck with free food would be parked at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship. Immediately after exchanging vows, they put on their aprons marked ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ and invited their wedding guests to help them in distributing food to 100 neighbourhood families.
When asked about the charitable act, the happy couple simply said they wanted to “bless God for blessing us with each other.”
I find it so refreshing to read stories like this one. I think I must be getting more and more cynical the older I get but it just seems to me like the message of the moment is ’social justice’. Everyone seems to be supporting something, somewhere. It’s trendy. Don’t get me wrong I love that people are finally awakening to something that has been on God’s heart since Adam but I often find myself questioning their motives. Does that band really have a burden for the children of Africa or are they just in it for what it gives them – sponsorship dollars and credibility?
I don’t want to cast shadows over everyone who gets on a platform and promotes a cause. There are amazing people in the Christian arena using their influence to help thousands in need. People like Darlene Zschech, Michael W Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman, just to name but a few.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s not enough to simply echo the message of social justice. We need to act.
Before Jesus even said a word, He first reached out and touched the leper. He chose to demonstrate His compassion before He said anything. To a leper, deprived of human contact for who knows how many years, Jesus did the one thing which spoke volumes, He touched him. There is a saying which goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they seen how much you care.”
Our actions speak louder than words.
In his book, ‘The Irresistible Revolution”, Shane Claiborne writes about meeting Mother Teresa in the streets of Calcutta. “People often ask me what Mother Teresa was like. Sometimes it’s like they wonder if she glowed in the dark or had a halo. She was short, wrinkled, and precious, maybe even a little ornery – like a beautiful, wise old granny. But there is one thing I will never forget – her feet. Her feet were deformed. Each morning in Mass, I would stare at them. I wondered if she had contracted leprosy. But I wasn’t going to ask, of course. “Hey Mother, what’s wrong with your feet?” One day a sister said to us, “Have you noticed her feet?” We nodded, curious. She said, “Her feet are deformed because we get just enough donated shoes for everyone, and Mother does not want anyone to get stuck with the worst pair, so she digs through them and finds them for herself. And years of doing that have deformed her feet.” years of loving her neighbour as herself and dwelling among the world’s poorest deformed her feet.”
Maybe I need to speak less and act more.
Lord help me to show Your love to a needy world. Let me be a person of action, not just talk.