Disaster Relief

Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV), “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted [that it was really He]. Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority (all power of absolute rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” (Emphasis mine)

At the time of this writing disaster relief is on the mind of many people here in the U.S. Hurricane Harvey has wrecked havoc, especially in Texas. This is a time where the Church can shine. This is a time when the Love of God can flow through us and reach out to those affected by the storms.

However, we were never called to just bring relief in times of a natural disaster, trauma, or trouble. Jesus, in His great commission simple said to “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Not an option, not for a specific time, but as we “go” about our lives, wherever the Holy Spirit leads, to relate to those around us in such a way as to show the love of God in their lives. To “live” by example the way that Jesus did.

Years ago God gave me this vision: The church I attend is right on a set of railway tracks. We hear this cargo train on a daily basis. In all the years that I attended and also worked at the church, I never saw a passenger train go by. However, in this vision there was a long train on the tracks pulling many passenger cars full of people. We were in the middle of an evening service when we heard the sound of a train wreck. As a well organized group we went out and began helping. We pulled some from burning cars, brought others into our building, caring for them and praying for them. Everyone did their part. Each passenger was attended to, each one rescued and saved.

I felt good about what happened in this vision. Thinking it was a vision of teamwork, or perhaps about each joint supplying, I was shocked to hear God say, “There are people perishing out there every day. Their lives are a train wreck, go out and save them just like these were saved.”

Well, I cried. As much as I loved the Lord, other than after a few inspirational messages, I honestly did not have much of a heart for the lost. But once God showed me this vision and I repented for my apathy, I began to see the harvest. It was then I realized we aren’t called just for disaster relief. Yes, we better come through in those very visible times of need, but we are called when it seems like it is life as normal, when we go to the grocery store, our kid’s soccer games, and at work. Even when they don’t realize that their lives are a disaster, we are called to make disciples. The good news is that Jesus is right there with us, His promise to never leave us, regardless of the circumstance, still stands.

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