Appleton Alliance Church, where I serve as pastor, is opening a free medical clinic in November of this year. On occasion, I’ve been asked why we’re doing this. Not everybody who is asking the question has a combative attitude towards it, some do, but most not. The question itself is legitimate. 'Why' is probably the most important question we can ask about anything we do. So I thought I’d take some time to offer my reflections on that question.
First, God cares about the poor. Consider these verses:
"Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (Prov. 14:31).
"Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done” (Prov. 19:17).
"Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered” (Prov. 21:13).
The Bible talks about the poor more than 2100 times. It’s clearly one of the foremost topics on God’s mind.
Second, we have resources to do something for the poor. Let’s be clear about this: we are ALL suppose to care for the poor. But not all of us are called to do the same things to serve them. There is a difference between caring and doing. Not every church is supposed to open a free medical clinic. That’s OK. Not every Christian is called to serve in a free medical clinic. That’s OK too. There are two reasons Appleton Alliance Church is going to express their care for the poor by doing a free medical clinic. One is we have the resources to do it. Second is we sense God calling us to do it. It’s really as simple as that.
Third, this will test whether or not we really understand the gospel. It’s easy to give lip service to the gospel when affluence is the air we breathe. But what happens when the air of affluence turns to the stench of poverty? I wonder how many “Christians" will want to run the other way? The gospel is Jesus abandoning affluence to live among the stench of sinners like you and me and die for us. That’s gospel love. Are we capable of demonstrating gospel love? We’ll find out.
Click here to learn more about Hope Clinic & Care Center.
If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, I encourage you to read Tim Keller’s book Generous Justice. Today, I will be giving away four copies of his book, each with a personalized note from me. To enter, simply sign in to the Rafflecopter giveaway below and enter either by following me on Twitter, on Instagram, or on both for a double entry! Winners will be chosen and notified by email next Tuesday. At this time, I do ask that only those living within the 48 contiguous United States enter the giveaway. Thank you for understanding.