Wilfred T. Adderley, Sr., Personal Ministries Director, SBC
When Moses asked the Lord to show him His glory, it was after God had agreed for His presence to be with His chosen nation- Israel, throughout their journey to the promise land. Then the Lord described Himself, saying: “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” Exodus 33:15 -19.
According to Wikipedia dictionary, ‘compassion’ is the emotion one feels in response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help…it is rational and is based on sound judgment. However, sympathy is a feeling or reaction of expressed sorrow to distress, or a need of another person.
God calls us to emulate His character of compassion with the desire to help anyone who needs our help. Throughout the Bible we can read story after story where compassion was asked for or noticed by God.
Moses says it clearly in Deut. 10:18, “He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothes.”
Let us consider three Biblical models of the church in ministry.
- The early Christian church model in Acts 2:44 and 45 showed that they had all things in common because they sold some of their possessions and then shared with those who were in need. Thus, Ingathering is a ministry of compassion to all who are in need even church members.
- The Corinthian model in 1 Corinthians 16:2 – 8 indicates that the Corinthian church was called upon to give donations and gifts to help people in Jerusalem who were suffering a famine, which was a natural disaster. Therefore, Ingathering is a ministry of compassion that is needed in the aftermath of a hurricane or any such calamity that calls for immediate help to the Nation.
- The End-Time Church model was described by Jesus Himself in Matthew 25:31 – 41, as a church that was actively involved in seven ministries of compassion: (i) feeding the hungry; (ii) clothing the naked; (iii) giving shelter to the homeless; (iv) visiting the sick; (v) visiting those in prison; (vi) providing water to drink; and (vii) extending the invitation for eternal-life to all who desire it. To fulfill Christ’s mission on the earth, until He comes is the main point of this kingdom parable.
As we launch ingathering on October 25th, the goal of every member is to contribute to Ingathering by first putting aside a special offering for the poor in the church-in the Samaritan’s Purse; then to invite friends and neighbors, to give voluntary donations to assist the less fortunate of our communities. I wish to commend those churches that reached their goals in the 2013 campaign and to encourage all our members to manifest a spirit of compassion in ministry.
Often, the question is asked, “What is the Adventist church doing to address the various social ills in our country and to assist the persons who are burdened with challenges in our communities?” While it is not published on a daily basis, the Adventist church touches many lives each day through ministries such as Adventist Community Services, Education, Youth, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), and many others. The humanitarian efforts of these ministries are highlighted during the Adventist church’s annual Ingathering program.
What is Ingathering? According to the Adventist History Library, found at http://adventisthistory.wordpress.com, in 1903, Jasper Wayne, a Seventh-day Adventist nurseryman ordered 50 copies of the magazine “Signs of the Times” which was devoted to the issue of capital and labour. As he opened the parcel in the post office and gave out the copies, he mentioned that any monies the recipient cared to give would be used for the mission of the church.
Within one hour, he depleted his supplies and in return received four dollars ($4.00) to be used for the work of the gospel. Out of this experience, emerged the Ingathering program which soon became standard in all countries in which Seventh-day Adventists developed an organized work.
It should be noted that Ingathering is not begging as some have expressed. Rather, it provides the church with two key opportunities. First, it provides for each member the unique opportunity to share Christ with the public by highlighting what the church is doing to uplift the human condition. Secondly, it affords each member the privilege to invite their friends, neighbours, and family members to partner with the church in providing the financial means to carry out the mission that Christ assigned to His church. Psalms 24:1 reminds us that the earth belongs to God and the fullness thereof. God has an abundance of resources in our world, and He has placed His resources in the hands of all.
The Adventist church in the Atlantic Caribbean region launched its annual ingathering campaign in October. As we go out “ingathering,” let’s remember that we are sharing the love of Christ and extending the invitation for others to experience His Love.