Overlooking The ‘And’
James 1:27 NLT – “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
This verse hit me differently this week.
See, there’s this weird thing going on in my head recently, and I’ve debated writing about it for a long time simply because I don’t know if I have it fully processed and I’m sure there’s a chance, depending on my wording, I could really piss some folks off.
I feel like there’s this technology induced trend right now where every charity out there is fighting for who is the most charitable. Have you seen it? Twitter wars, Facebook ‘Like’ battles, who can raise the most awareness or get on the most morning talk shows. There’s even people out there that seem to bounce from one charity to another depending on it’s popularity or influence. Folks creating new charities based on other charities, but they do it better. Come on, tell me you haven’t seen this?
This is a good thing….. right?
I mean, what’s wrong with everyone on Twitter fighting over who’s going to give the most clean water? What’s wrong with these charities being ‘popular’? It’s helping. Right?
Have you ever watched someone online and thought, “Man, that must be the most loving, charitable person on the planet. They are constantly Tweeting about what they are involved in and how they are changing the world. How do they even find the time to pour themselves into so much ‘good’?”? Then you’ve met that person and they are too wrapped up in their own world to give you the time of day? They blow you off because you’ve got nothing to offer their ’cause’?
Have you ever felt that way? Or is it just me?
I’ve met some folks, who from the outside look like the most charitable, giving, loving people in the world and have treated me and others around them like absolute garbage because I can’t further their efforts at that exact moment. They are too busy pursuing their charity to even bother speaking to the ‘normal’ people.
Then this week I stumbled onto this verse. See that ‘and’ right there in the middle of that verse? It’s interesting isn’t it? Now, I’m no Bible scholar, I don’t know the original Greek or any of that, but I know what the word “and” means. I know it means “also”.
“In addition to.”
See we’re told, “pure and genuine religion means caring for the orphans and widows”, but that’s where most people stop. Unfortunately there’s that pesky “and” there. ”AND refusing to let the world corrupt you.” Interesting.
How many times have we seen people corrupted by the world through ego, arrogance, fame, recognition? We have shows following the ‘famous’ folks through rehab. We’ve watched pop-stars destroy their lives because of their fame, politicians corrupted by money and power. We’ve even seen powerful pastors crack under the pressure of popularity. I wonder if that’s where that “and” is going.
What about a more ‘well known’ verse?
1 Corinthians 13:3 NLT - “If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”
I wonder what the word “others” means there. Other countries? Other states? Other cities? Other neighborhoods? Other churches? Or all ‘others’? Does it matter if the person sitting next to you at church can’t further your cause? Does it matter if the Home Depot checkout lady can’t fund your missions trip expenses? Or has the world started corrupting?
I wonder how Jesus would have handled this online charity trend. I wonder what he would have thought about everyone announcing publicly how much they are doing to ‘personally’ change the world for the better. But then again, I wonder if he kind of already said something about it.
Matthew 6:3 NLT - ”But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand (*or your 20,000 Twitter followers) know what your right hand is doing.” ( *I added the Twitter part.)