Friday, January 21, 2005

An Hour a Week 

About a month ago, I read an interview with a man in Texas who truly lives like a Christian. He sold all his worldly possessions and has devoted his life to teaching the Gospel, taking care of the poor, and revealing the hypocrisy of evangelical leaders who do neither of these things. With what little he has, he is making a positive difference in a bad part of the city where he lives.
Edited to add: Found the article! "God Doesn't Need Ole Anthony"

One thing that struck me when I read that article was his statement that we could solve the homeless problem in America if only every church would offer to personally help a few people get back on their feet. I thought of this again today when I read "The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience", an article lamenting the fact that most Americans who profess to be Christians are not living in accordance with their beliefs.

One statistic that stood out to me was that "Forty-nine percent of all born-again Christians with a biblical worldview have volunteered more than an hour in the previous week to an organization serving the poor, whereas only 29 percent of born-again Christians without a biblical worldview and only 22 percent of non-born-again Christians had done so," according to George Barna in his book Think Like Jesus. I thought those numbers sounded kind of low. And then I thought, What did I do in the last week to help the poor? Did I spend at least an hour serving those in need?

I'm ashamed to say that I did not. But it gave me an idea for a way to do better. If those of us who call ourselves Christians would pledge to spend an hour a week, just one hour a week, helping those in need in some capacity, imagine the change we could see in our communities! There are two obstacles I see in implementing this plan:
  1. Convincing people to spend the time
  2. Hooking up people willing to help with those who need their help

The first problem could be solved by enlisting the help of churches to get the word out and get some positive peer pressure going. The second might be solved with a simple web site or flyer listing local organizations that need help along with contact information.

Now, for those reading this who do not consider themselves Christians, I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't make an hour a week commitment to help the poor. Please do! The more people who help, the better chance we have of reducing poverty and its associated ills. I'm just saying that people who call themselves Christians have a responsibility to help the less fortunate, whether with time or money or both, and we need a renewed commitment to that responsibility.

Right now, this is just a preliminary idea in a rambling blog post. But I plan to discuss it with a few people and see what happens.


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