It turns out that evangelist Luis Palau shares something in common with the new Catholic Pope Francis I – they’re both from Argentina. What’s more, despite the obvious theological differences, they are also personal friends.
Recently, Dr. Palau did an interview with Christianity Today about his insights, from a Protestant perspective, on the Pope. A lot has been said in the media about the Pope’s focus on serving the poor, but what Dr. Palau remembers most is his concern over the secularization of the young generation.
The interview got me thinking – the fight to win the souls of secular young people is certainly something evangelical Protestants are engaged in as well. It virtually defines who we are! But when it comes to charity work, the public perception is often that we, unlike Catholics and unlike all decent human beings, don’t care about the poor.
If the question is “do we care enough,” the answer is probably no. We are imperfect people who continually fail to care enough, serve enough, pray enough, sacrifice enough – and that’s why we need God’s grace.
If the question is “do we care,” I know without a doubt the answer is yes. One of the blessings of being a part of the Cross International team is that I’ve had the privilege of meeting amazing Christian men and women around the world who have dedicated their lives to “washing the feet” of the poor. I remember being in Africa, sharing a meal with a group of Christian doctors, being moved by their deep faith that had moved them to set aside lucrative job opportunities so they could meet the medical needs of the poor.
At Cross, I also have the opportunity to communicate with Christian donors who care deeply about the less fortunate; Christians who understand that God has blessed them so that they can bless others; Christians who went on a mission trip to a faraway land, fell in love with the people and left their hearts behind, unable to forget what they saw.
Christians don’t always go around bragging about how they’ve fed the poor or clothed the naked. They aren’t doing those things for the public recognition. Yet we do seek recognition in order to give all the glory and honor to Christ. It’s in the tension of that paradox that we hope and sing, “They will know we are Christians by our love.”