1 Corinthians 12:27 (The Message)
You are Christ's body—that's who you are! You must never forget this.
We are to be Christ’s body, His very incarnate reality in the world. Can I be Christ’s body without being among the poor, the needy, the troubled? Can I practice compassion without being with or among? If I am not with or among, am I practicing dispassion? Why am I prone to protectionism, staying at arm’s length instead of becoming a hospitable witness that embodies the justice of Christ in the world? How can I overcome, be motivated and be with? Every time I give money, buy a t-shirt, or otherwise give money to a cause – I’m confronted with the question; was my gift compassionate or dispassionate?
Last week I met Marc Gold, through an article in the Christian Science Monitor; Marc Gold travels Asia paying it forward through little acts of kindness. Marc is an example of compassion – he has overcome, he has joined in, and he is with and seeks to know those in need. He’s overcome my need for protectionism and my tendency to think I’m too small.
On his 100 Friends website, Marc explains why he does what he does, “My motivation for doing my work is this – years ago I asked myself the question "what do I know for sure?" I wished I could give a spiritual, religious or philosophical answer, but I couldn't find one that I felt with any real conviction. The one conviction I do have is that the poverty and need I saw with my own eyes in developing countries is the most real thing I have ever witnessed. I know as an undeniable fact that this project benefits those I have reached through my work. Having this opportunity to help people, save lives and create brighter futures has brought me real fulfillment. This work brings meaning to my life. If I can die knowing I have been able to help some needy fellow human beings, then that is enough for me.”
Marc is clearly living a more abundant life, a compassionate life, one that I think Jesus is calling me to, as I participate in His reconciling work, in the missio Dei – the restoration of all things.
My hope is that I actually use Marc’s example to be an inspiration that motivates me towards a new faithfulness to His mission.
Gracious God, all around me people are suffering. Help me to overcome my tendency to protect the gifts you’ve given me. May your Holy Spirit guide me; to join with others who have joined with you into your mission to reconcile the world. Amen