“Our responses to others can never be based on need alone
—because the need in this world is endless.
Reacting only on the basis of ‘I need you’ or ‘I need this from you’ will leave us exhausted from well meaning efforts to be everything to everyone. That’s a job that only God is capable of. Yet, the enemy of our faith would love to convince us otherwise. If he hasn’t been able to cultivate you into a couch potato, then the moment you decide to engage in life, he will be sure that every ‘good’ project and pressing need rushes in like a tsunami. The strategy is to overwhelm you to the point that you will return to the couch, feeling that you gave it a try, but that it was all just too much.” – from the In Focus blog, “Freedom from Needs,” as written by the Team Brilliant Staff
It has been said that charity is its own worst enemy. Only meeting the immediate and surface need without addressing the causes behind the need creates a never-ending cycle.
This is why, as citizens of the kingdom of God, it isn’t just enough for us to be ambassadors (merely representing/displaying the nature of the King); we must also be the kingdom’s freedom fighters.
As such, not only are we proclaiming the reality of the kingdom and the goodness of the King, we are bringing the freedoms of the kingdom to bear in this realm. For example, how much hunger is present in the kingdom of God? The obvious, and correct, answer is zero because the kingdom is free from hunger.
So, instead of trying to feed everyone who is hungry, we bring the kingdom’s freedom from hunger to bear on the causes behind that hunger, because if all we do is try to make them not hungry today or this week, we will find ourselves right back in the same situation tomorrow or next week. And that is an approach that produces a never-ending cycle.
So, the attitude must be “doing with” rather than “doing for.”
Right now, I have percolating in my mind something that might bring the kingdom’s freedom from hunger to bear on why there are people who are hungry in the Fort Dodge community. After reading a report on food waste, I realized that, in this country, there are literally MILLIONS of TONS of food that is wasted every year, food that is edible, but for one of a variety of reasons is discarded. I think it reasonable to deduce that Fort Dodge is not immune from this reality.
What if something was created that would reclaim that edible food and combine it with processing it (like canning or preparing for freezing), as well as teach others how to process it? Canning or freezing edible food far extends its usefulness beyond its natural state.
And because this is about “doing with” and not “doing for,” anyone (those who are “food insecure”) who would receive the results of the processing would have to participate in the procuring and processing of the food. The goal would then be to walk with them to get them to such a point where they can do their own processing at home and become closer to being “food secure” at home on their own.
Obviously there are other factors in play causing the “food insecurity,” but we cannot realistically address all of them, but learning skills and possibly providing the equipment necessary to process the food would impact at least one cause behind it.
For example, maybe there is an apple orchard that is tossing away apples because those apples do not meet appearance criteria for being sold in stores, but are perfectly edible. Let’s say that the orchard was approached and agreed, for a tax deduction, to donate those apples to just such a ministry. Now, if these apples were just handed out to those who are “food insecure,” the impact would be short-lived since the apples would quickly spoil.
But what if, instead, those apples were processed and those who would receive the product provided labor in the processing. Now you have homemade applesauce (YUM!) and apples prepared for freezing and maybe apple cider, among other products, products that will last long after the time the unprocessed apples would have spoiled.
And that’s just one example of how the freedoms which are a reality in the kingdom of God can be brought to bear upon the realities of this world by Kingdom Freedom Fighters.
So, if you are a Kingdom Freedom Fighter, consider the freedoms present in the kingdom and compare how the realities of this realm match those freedoms. If they don’t match, consider the reasons behind why they do not. Then consider how God would want to use your status as a Kingdom Freedom Fighter to bring the freedoms of the kingdom to bear on one of those reasons.
And then watch what He does.