The Difference Faith Can Make

August 14, 2014

by Laurent Trabadello, Regional director for Latin America and West Africa

Samaritan’s Purse was recently invited to submit an article for the Canadian Christian Relief and Development Association’s summer 2014 newsletter. The topic was how our Christian faith intersects with the principles of good relief and development work.

We can all do humanitarian work. It’s not all that complicated, really. Identifying needs, finding available resources, and then using the resources to meet the needs…it’s what NGOs do.

In this line of work, are Christian NGOs more effective than secular ones? The argument could go either way.

The problem is that we are often influenced by our society’s materialistic worldview. This perspective causes us to see money as the principal solution to every problem and human beings as responsible for “fixing” everything.  

But God doesn’t see the world in the same light. Jesus said that the poor would always be among us. He never talked about eradicating poverty. It’s a problem that simply cannot be fixed until Christ returns to establish His Kingdom, ridding the world of sin and of the one who causes the world to be in chaos.

The greatest contribution Christian relief and development organizations make is acknowledging that every person matters to God and therefore every life has intrinsic dignity. A holistic approach, influenced by a Biblical worldview, should lead Christian organizations to adopt a humble approach, dependent solely on God.

As Christians, we should focus on identifying where God is working, what specific role we can play, and then pursuing excellence in implementing interventions that bring dignity and profound transformation and that help establish God’s Kingdom – one person, one community, and one nation at a time.

When that happens, the needy are lifted from the ashes, not by the Christian NGO, but rather by God, through the organization. He provides the resources. He intervenes through His people to bring healing and blessing. His will is accomplished on earth as it is in heaven. He gets the credit.

After all, isn’t that what the Abrahamic covenant is all about: Becoming vessels of God’s blessing for every family on earth?