Impact Blog

Remembering our Why: For the Love of God by Steve Stewart

Often in our Impact Nations articles, we report on what is happening in the various developing nations where we are at work in order to encourage one another and to remind ourselves that we serve a faithful Lord. In fact, this article finishes with a terrific report from DD, our partner in Haiti.

For several weeks now, as we have seen more and more breakthroughs and surprises, I have been thinking about the why of Impact Nations. At one level, we recognize that what we do really does matter in God’s eyes. Jesus said this in many ways: “Let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Mt. 5:16). “My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples. “ (Jn. 15:8) And so, we do the work that we do with the poor and oppressed to bring glory to our Father.

While I, of course, want to bring glory to the Father, that’s still not it, not the why of going to the poor and oppressed. Perhaps our why is more about this journey we are on: learning what it means to really follow Jesus. I am ever-so-slowly discovering that I can trust Jesus enough to actually step off the edge of my false sense of security and certainty, and into the life that He lived and invites me to join Him in. Jesus lived life on the margins, continually including the men and women He encountered there, offering the gift of welcome: in other words, the gift of His true heart for people, especially the invisible and the despised. When I read the Gospels, it seems very clear that Jesus didn’t value success, or power or even social propriety. Instead, Jesus valued the shattering honesty that always leads to profound humility. And truth be told, He found them on the margins, only rarely in the center. I am learning that the poor, the widow, the orphan, the refugee––these are a gift to us, a mirror that reminds us of our utter need to continually receive and live in the wonder of His grace, His promise that no matter what, Jesus is always for me and always with me.

Perhaps the greatest mystery of the Gospel is the Incarnation. Christ, this One of whom Paul writes:

          Everything was created by Him…He is before all things,

And by Him all things hold together  (Col 1:16,17)

Not only did this pre-incarnate Creator of the universe come to earth as a human, He chose to be born and to live in an occupied nation, among the poor. In fact, Jesus’s identification, His incarnation, goes even deeper than that because, during His final public teaching, Jesus said these amazing words:

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’(Mt. 25 :27-40)

This is so clear. We love Jesus by caring for the hungry child, the abandoned woman, the political refugee, the stranger, the prisoner. We thought we were taking Jesus to the poor and oppressed, but He was already there, waiting for us. Like most aspects of the Incarnation, this is filled with paradox and mystery. On the one hand, as we go to love and welcome those on the edges, we are following the inclusive Jesus. This is why the Bible directs us, cover to cover, to care for the widow and the orphan, to feed the hungry, clothe and shelter the poor, be very careful about how we treat the alien and the refugee. We are to love justice and mercy (Mic 6:8) because this is what the Lord tells His people to do. But here is the paradox: when we go to the poor and the helpless, not only are we following Jesus to the margins; when we get there, we discover that we are caring for and loving the very One who sends us there in the first place. So are we following Jesus in mercy and compassion, or are we going to meet with Him? The answer is ‘yes’.

I live on the edge of the high desert in New Mexico. A couple of weeks ago I went out with a couple of friends to take food to some people living in squatter’s shacks in the middle of nothing but cactus, tumbleweed and sand. Sitting on a battered step outside of a tired old trailer, trying to follow a conversation that was going on in Spanish, I realized it had happened again. We drove there to take some food and to tell a poor yet very dignified man about Jesus. And He was already sitting there, waiting for us.

So, at least in part, this is our why. God cares passionately for the poor, the outcast and the abused. We are learning to care for what God cares about. We are learning the power of mercy. But even more, we are discovering new depths of knowing Jesus. Following, knowing and being with Jesus is our why.

Enjoy this report that came in this week. It is a follow-up to the shipment of over 100,000 meals that we shipped five weeks ago to St. Marc, Haiti. As we learn to follow Him, we experience His supernatural acceleration.

All is grace.

From DD: Here is a picture of one of the children who was very slim, and needed much more nutrients in her meals. We started feeding her specifically with the vegetables, the granola with milk and the fruits. In less than a month she gained more than 12 pounds. She is developing well.

All our kids are doing well, healthier than ever.

Thank you so much.

Blessings to you and the Impact Team.

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