I went to a very interesting session at my church this evening at which Simon Ponsonby gave a lecture on “The Holy Spirit and Justice”. It was thought provoking to say the least and highlighted why as Christians we have a duty to care for the poor and the world around us. As someone said to me afterwards (quoting, I think, William Booth) “Sometimes we get so involved in saving people from the hell of the next world we forget to save them from the hell of this”.
I’d highly recommend downloading the MP3 when it gets posted at media.staldates.org.uk over the next couple of days. If you’re a Christian it will challenge you and encourage you to think more about social justice and social action. If you’re not a Christian it might make you realise that Evangelicals do care about ‘the social Gospel’.
Walking home however we came across someone selling the Big Issue. Spurred on by what we’d just heard we duly coughed up, only to realise that this wasn’t an official Big Issue seller. Maybe he did genuinely need money for the Night Shelter but nevertheless I felt slightly conned. This raises some interesting questions. Should we care where the money we give goes? I’d given something (albeit only a little) to someone less fortunate than me and that can only be a good thing. But could my money have been put to better use? If we all just gave to anyone who demanded money we’d feed quite a drink and drug problem for a start. But how often do we use that as an excuse not to give at all…? I wonder what God was trying to tell me through this little encounter?