I just finished reading the book “The Hole in our Gospel” by Richard Starns the president of World Vision. If you don’t want to be deeply touched and convicted that we need to do better at helping the poor, the sick, the orphans and disadvantaged in the world, then be sure not to read this book. He tells vividly in the first segment of how he wrestled against God’s call on his life to become the president of World Vision. He was at the time the CEO of Lennox. He was making lots of money living in luxury and had great opportunities to keep moving up in the business and financial world. Finally with the encouragement of his wife and the persistence of the board he accepted the challenge and became the advocate for the poor.
He told heart rending stories of those who had been orphaned by parents who had died with aids. One story of a young boy of twelve who had two younger brothers he was caring for all by themselves since both parents had died with aids and there was no other family to take them in. He met the boys in a small shack with dirt floors. He told of traveling many countries and meeting with people there who were hurting deeply and the work that was being done in the name of Christ in the different parts of the world. The problem of poverty and disease isn’t just outside the borders of our own country. In most large cities there are large segments of people who struggle to survive every day.
His plea throughout the book is for people to find their way and place to get involved in helping the needy. He pointed out how often and how strongly God spoke about his people not helping those in need. He even told the Israelites that he wouldn’t hear their prayers or accept their worship or sacrifices because they closed their hearts and help to those who were widows, orphans and the aliens in the land. In the gospel accounts about Jesus he pointed to Isaiah 61 where the prophesy had been made of the coming of the Messiah who would heal the sick, give sight to the blind, cause the deaf to hear, bring liberty to the captives and preach the gospel to the poor and bring the acceptable year of the Lord. Jesus said he was fulfilling that prophesy before them. When Jesus told of the coming judgment, he said when the Lord comes again with all his holy angels he would separate the sheep from the goats and say to those on the right, “Come you blessed of my father and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the earth, for I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stanger and you took me in, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me and in prison and you came to me.” They couldn’t believe they had done the things the Lord said. He told them, “Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these my brothers you have done it unto me.”
In the final segment of the book he talks about how in the United States if all those who claim to be followers of Christ actually gave ten percent of their income to the Lord’s cause it would be possible for Christians to lift billions of people out of poverty, disease and other horrible situations out of their devastation. More than that if each person who claims to be a follower of Christ actually took some personal interest and determined to do something that would actually help the hurting much of the suffering in the world could be solved.
I believe anyone who reads “The Hole in our Gospel” will be changed and determine to do more personally to make a difference in the world of the hurting. I hope you will get this book and read it soon.