A letter to members and friends of The Gathering:
As I am sure you have been following the events of the past week related to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, you are probably feeling the same desire as I have to “do something” to help alleviate some of the suffering. It is difficult to know what to do and to feel as though we’re doing enough. In light of that, I would like to suggest a couple of things that you can do that will make a world of difference:
1. Pray. I know that you expected me to say that first, but there is truly no greater thing that you can do besides that. As many of us are reading through the Bible in a year as a part of The Gathering One-Year Bible Challenge, we recently read through the book of Job. After all of the “friends” of Job had finished giving him their collective wisdom, God said something interesting in chapter 42:
After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.8 Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the Lord had told them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.
The point here is simply that God instructed these men to go to Job that he could pray for them to God. Think about that: isn’t it a little strange sounding for God to speak to them to tell them to tell Job to talk to God on their behalf? The important thing for us to see, though, is that there is a process that God wanted them to go through; to humble themselves before Him and have His servant petition Him on their behalf. And God moved and accepted the prayer and brought restoration to these men. That process is still in effect today.
When we can “do something” that will physically bring healing and relief, we must! However, that must never take precedents over our primary responsibility, the one that has more power because of the One to which we petition, and that is prayer. Pray without ceasing.
2. Give. Some of you can give hundreds of dollars and you should to help bring relief. Others can only give ten or fifteen dollars and you should. Scripture says for us to bring our tithes and offerings to the Lord (Deuteronomy 12 and 26). At the Gathering, our tithes sustain the work of the church so that ongoing regular ministry can occur. Offerings are the extras that go to meet special and/or specific needs. One such offering is for relief for the work in Haiti.
With so many organizations working to bring relief, there are any number of avenues through which you can give support. Some are more effective than others both in their distribution of funds received and the work they do when they get there. We have determined to channel our funds through the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. Through the leadership of the Florida Baptist Convention, which has had ongoing work in Haiti for many years, the SBC Disaster Relief Teams are on the ground now doing what they do best. We believe the best use of our funds is to provide the much-needed resources to those best equipped to serve. These teams are well-trained and experienced in going into areas of such devastation and bringing much needed relief. Our own SBC Disaster Relief are considered among the best and most effective in the world and we can help that work in a very tangible way. If you would like more information on the SBC Disaster Relief, please visit our website at GatheringChattanooga.com and click on the Disaster Relief banner.
As we did last week, we will be taking up a special offering for Haiti relief this Sunday. Please consider joining with us to make a difference, both in your constant prayers and in your giving.
To the glory of God,