'We Are Not Commanded To Be a Docent in the Art Museum. We Are Commanded To Love the Poor.'
If I volunteer to help coach my kids' soccer team, or if I volunteered to be a docent at the art museum, it sounds like you wouldn't be happy about that. But such activities are helping the community in other ways—they're just not helping the poor as such.
It gets back to priority. There are certain things that really are not optional. We are not commanded to be a docent in the art museum. We are commanded to love the poor. To bind up the brokenhearted, to care for the widow, the orphan, and the stranger. Those are pretty strong commands in the Bible. So you almost have to do those first.
It could be maybe you are a great writer and so you write about these things. It could be that you're a talented musician; we have these artist associates that go around for World Vision and use their music as a way to attract people to a ministry to the poor.
It's a balance thing. You can say, "Well, Rich what are you doing about abortion?" Well, I'm not doing much, frankly. I've given to crisis pregnancy centers over the years, but my thing is what World Vision is all about. I do think that God calls us to different things. Someone else might be called more to evangelism. But there are some things that all Christians have some responsibility to do. Evangelism would be one. Caring for the poor would be another. We are all called to love God, we are all called to love our neighbor, and we are all called to the Great Commission. We are not all called to be a docent, but that's a worthwhile thing to do. But not if it excludes the other things.
Copyright © 2009 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
See also our March 2005 cover story on World Vision, "The Colossus of Care."