Did you know that 33% of the world’s entire population are Christians? That’s around two billion people following, believing and worshiping the most loving God who gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life, as stated in the biggest-selling book in the history of the world – the Bible.
Christianity started about 2000 years ago in Judea – now known as Israel (I hope my history is right) through a man named Jesus and his twelve apostles. This man said that He was the son of God and was brought down to earth to save the people, and He asked his disciples to spread the good news. And up until now, 2017 years later, religious groups, spiritual communities, churches, congregations, institutions, priests, nuns, preachers, pastors, laymen and youth leaders are still spreading the good news. But for 2017 years of spreading this news, it seems like the world is just getting worse don’t you think? Did Jesus sacrificed His life for nothing?
“The Bible says,” as Christians would always say. Whenever they will make a point, “the Bible says…” Whenever they try to correct someone, “the Bible says…” or “It’s in the Bible.” “Jesus said.” Christian teachings are based on the Bible, so let’s have some Bible verses about the poor.
“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed.” -Proverbs 19:17
“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will blessed.” -Luke 13:13-14
“If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled.” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” -James 2:15-16
“Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call and not be heard” -Proverbs 21:13
“There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brothers, to the poor and needy in your land.” -Deuteronomy 15:11
If Christians claim that they are followers of Christ, then why is poverty a never-ending issue? Let’s take our beloved country for instance. Did you know that Philippines is the 4th largest Christian country in the world? More than 90% of our population are Christians. 90 percent! That includes Catholics, Protestants, Born Again, Baptists, and other religious groups who believe in Jesus Christ. But despite this number, the Philippines is still a third world country. Even though we claim that we are “followers” of Christ. And even though the Bible says help the poor, there are still a lot of poor families in our country. Ano kayang mali?
When a beggar knocks on our car windows, or beg for money while in transit, we would say,
“Don’t give them money. You’re not helping them by giving money.”
“Tignan mo tong mga to, hindi na nga nagbabayad ng tax.”
“Wag mong bigyan. Trabaho ng gobyerno yan eh.”
You might say that it’s because they have the poverty mind set. They don’t know financial literacy. Etc etc. But that’s exactly the point. I think the reason why they don’t know, and we know is because God wants us to let them know. God is telling us that this is an opportunity to help the poor. But sometimes, we even justify by supporting our reasons with another Bible verse. Which I think makes the Bible teachings inconsistent, right? Or do Christians really know what the Bible is truly saying? Hmm…Bakit tinatamaan ako sa mga sinasabi ko.
I read this from a book by Matthew Kelly entitled Rediscover Catholicism. He said that people now a days are saying to Christians, specifically to Catholics, “Don’t tell me. Show me.” And as a Christian, it hit me. This is true. People are done listening. People are done reading. People want to see. They want proof. They want witnesses. They don’t care about the existence of God. They want the experience of God. (Not realizing that God is actually everywhere. Get a copy of my book, Move Heavenward to see God in your most ordinary situations.)
A priest said this. “When we go to heaven, God will ask us these questions. I was hungry, did you give me something to eat? I was thirsty, did you give me something to drink? I was naked, did you clothe me? I was stranger, did you invite me in? I was sick, did you look after me? I was in prison, did you come to visit me? In short, God will ask us – Did you love?”
I love the story of the elephant and the blind men. One day, there were six blind men walking and suddenly bumped into something. The blind men argued with each other.
“It’s a rope!”
“No, it’s not a rope. It’s a wall!”
“No, it’s a tree!”
“It’s a spear!”
“Am I holding a fan?”
“C’mon guys! It’s a snake!”
They were fighting not realizing that they were holding different parts of the same elephant. Yes, they were all correct. Well, atleast based on their interpretation. If we’re going to think about it more, they were still wrong. It was not a rope, wall, tree, spear, fan or a snake. It was actually the tail, body, leg, horn, ear and nose of the elephant.
In the same way, as Christians, we don’t realize that we are all worshiping one God. Some are actually trying to impose that they are the right and only way. But the truth is, our little minds can never comprehend how big our God really is. We only know a portion of Him and we think we know Him deeply. Another priest said this with great wisdom. “We may know about Him, but we don’t know Him.” For more than 2000 years, Christians are too focused on imposing what is right and tend to forget what empathy, respect, compassion and generosity is all about. Christians are too focused on Jesus as a God, and forget about Jesus as the hungry, thirsty, naked, stranger, criminal, and sick.
A wiseman said this beautifully, “We know too much, but we love too little.”
Please don’t judge me. Don’t get angry at me. Kahit ako tinamaan sa pinagsasabi ko. I’m just an ordinary man searching for truth and meaning. I say a lot of things about God and I want to know Him more. But do not be deceived with the things I say. I am also a Christian. A Catholic. And I love too little.
Let’s pray for a better world. No, let’s pray and work for a better world. Let’s make Him famous not just through our words, but through our actions.
Pray for me as I pray for you.
Get a copy of my book, Move Heavenward. Email me at email@example.com or message me on facebook.com/authorarielgozon.