I have friends who live in a tiny village in the middle of a jungle on an island in the Pacific. Tribes and villages of people all through the jungle have gotten sick with a mysterious illness that is killing people. Hundreds of people are walking hours, sometimes carrying the sick on their backs, to get medical help. The government has sent some humanitarian aid, and some doctors have ridden in on motorbikes. A lot of the help has come from the Christian nationals in this village.
Amazingly, none of the people in my friends’ village have gotten sick. This village is a Christian village. The surrounding villages are not. The Christ-followers are caring for the sick and feeding the scores of people. The villagers are hunting animals; the children are gathering edible plants; and they are sharing their harvest. In this culture, this is a huge deal. They only have one harvest a year, and there is no Wal-Mart down the street. Once the harvest is gone, it is gone. Food will be very difficult to come by. But these believers are proclaiming their faith in a Big God, trusting that if they bless their neighbors now, God will provide for them later. What a testmony!
My friend is preparing to fly out of their village with three elderly women from the jungle. They need cataract surgery, and there is a hospital willing to do this for free. So my friend will accompany these women. Two of them have never worn shoes. They’ve never worn shoes! They’ve never left the jungle. None of them have ever flown on an airplane, and they are scared near to death.
So, my friend is living amongst sickness and absolute poverty. She is holding sick babies, offering food to hungry people, welcoming giggly girls onto her doorstep at the break of dawn. She is living out Christ to people who need Him, and she is teaching young believers how to love Christ and live for Him. She is offering hope. She is the hands and feet of Christ. The smile and gentle touch of our Lord.
What am I doing? Are there sick in my village? Do I help alleviate poverty? Am I the hands and feet of Christ? Or am I satisfied keeping a safe distance being merely the pocketbook of Christ? Aren’t there people here, in this country, in my neighborhood who need Jesus? Will I offer them hope?