Natural Disasters and the Church

I was watching the news one morning this week and the anchor was giving a recap of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ike when it came ashore this past weekend. Homes near the coast were washed away and the ones that remain are flooded and full of mud and debris.

Local officials were calling on the federal government to come in and take care of things.  This got me wondering.  Is it really the role of the federal government to care for the homeless and feed the hungry?  That is what Christ has called the church to do.  Using federal and military resources to assist in search and rescue is a blessing.  I don’t want to take anything away from the countless government workers working long hours helping those in Texas and Louisiana, but where are the people that fill our churches every Sunday.

Why isn’t the church doing more to help those who have lost everything and are hurting. And then it hit me.  I was asking this question of other people and not of myself.  Why wasn’t I doing more?  Was I willing to sacrifice a few days of my paycheck to help those that can’t work right now. If I was willing to help, then what could I do?

Later in the day I got an email from Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR).  I learned that the church is doing something.  SBDR has dispatched thousands of people to prepare meals, aid in clean-up, and minister to those who are wrestling with the spiritual questions that arise from disaster.  SBDR works closely with the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, FEMA and other relief organizations to help people put their lives back together. But more than just rebuilding homes, it is the hope of SBDR that those affected by the hurricane would start their lives over by building upon the foundation of Christ Jesus.

So now I have my answer.  The church is doing something but there are still plenty of us that can do something to help.  We can give financially to either the SBDR Fund or the Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund.  Beyond that we can take a few days off from work and go help in the clean-up or serve meals. Above all, we should want to be faithful to live out the Great Commandment, to love our neighbor as ourself.