I like to eat.
Often, when there is a selection of food and I’m given the choice of hand-cut, cooked in peanut oil french fries or freshly sliced, hand-breaded onion rings, I say yes. Because in my gluttony- two is better than one and I would rather not have to choose and limit my taste buds from the fine flavor of these fried delicacies.
Both/And is great than Either/Or.
I was reading a certain author and posted about something that I read that resonated or challenged me- and someone wrote back- “Watch out- he’s (the author) is a social gospel guy.” This led my friend into a diatribe about how churches are selling out and not saving souls- and are, instead, too concerned about providing social services to people in need.
He was an either/or kind of guy.
The Bible says something about saving souls, being saved, being born again, about having our sins forgiven- there is little to question about that. Especially in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), Jesus is seen not only forgiving sins and offering new life with God- Jesus is caring for the poor, feeding the hungry, touching the outcast, healing the lame, giving sight to the blind, and releasing those in captivity.
Jesus is a both/and kind of Savior.
This past Sunday, I preached on Sloth and those who hunger for justice. The challenge of the message is for us as Christians to take what we’ve been given and multiply it so that we can live passionately pursuing justice for those without a voice. Some might say that this is ‘works theology.’ I say that our pursuit of justice opens the door for us as Christians and as the church to minister to the spiritual side of people’s lives. If someone is hungry- will they hear the gospel over the rumble in the stomach if we don’t offer them something to eat?
Saving souls or caring for people’s physical needs?