A group of wealthy Americans journeyed to India to determine where to sacrifice their money in charitable giving. It was their first visit to India, and they hoped to be housed and transported in comfort. They were seeking to support a charitable establishment with western values and amenities, run by westerners. They hoped to avoid immersion in Indian culture.
They first visited the central campus of Mission India (called Reaching Indians Ministries International in the west). This ministry was founded by Indians for Indians to take the gospel to the subcontinent of India and to Indians all over the world. Pastoral training, church planting, orphanages, and compassion services for the poor are the ministry’s cornerstones.
Since 1993, Mission India has:
- planted 5,600 house churches
- established 18 orphanages
- maintained a theological seminary in Nagpur
- founded and run 27 regional bible training centers.
The fact-finding American group was placed in the comfortable visitor housing right on the Mission India campus, so they could tour and become intimately acquainted with the ministry. Upon settling in, the Americans proceeded to blog about the “substandard” housing and the “odd” Indian customs. After every handshake with the Indian men and women on the Mission India campus, the American group members immediately pulled out and used their hand sanitizer.
Viewing their blogs from here in America, I wept hot, angry tears when I read their account of doing this. These Indian men and women are my dear friends. At great personal cost, they have invested their lives in obedience to Jesus. They are people of great faith. The Indian staff and students are Jesus’ own people. They humbly accepted this treatment and never mentioned it.
Unhappy with their stay in less-than-plush quarters, the American team moved on to a western-founded ministry, run by westerners, where they were housed in a five-star hotel as they examined these facilities. While at this other ministry, they were educated by the staff there about their social insult with the hand sanitizer. The rich Americans then blogged about their faux pas, laughing it off.
I was reminded of the time the Pharisees—comfortable, rich, rule-keeping, religious group members—were offended that Jesus would eat with tax collectors and sinners.
Jesus replied, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt. 9:12 ESV).
Humble people know they need a Physician. The abject poor comprehend this with far greater regularity and depth of understanding than comfort-seeking, complacent rich onlookers. It’s harder for rich people to realize they need a Savior than it is for a literal camel to go through the literal eye of a needle.
God is full of mercy and compassion. He desires for us to show mercy, too. Biblical righteousness is social. It shows in our day-to-day actions, in how we treat our families and other human beings, and in how we assist the needy. A sacrifice of money only is not mercy.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 ESV).
In India, if you have no health insurance, and only the wealthy do, your loved ones die of treatable ailments. People who subsist on less than $40 a month cannot afford medicine to maintain the health of their elderly parents or their sick children. What westerners would call “minor” ailments are life threatening. Add to that malaria, yellow fever, leprosy, and typhoid.
Reaching Indians Ministries International (Mission India) has built and is now staffing and equipping a charitable hospital where the sick can be cared for at no cost to them. Patients will be treated by Christian staff who will also share the Good News of the Great Physician. The ministry, as stated before, is founded and run by Indians for Indians. There will be no cultural insult, no lack of comprehension of local customs, and no arrogant lack of compassion.
If you’d like to be part of helping the poor, please consider giving. Donate Here.
How do the Lord’s requirements for righteous living affect you today?