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Soul Food

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

“I am against suffering; especially eternal suffering.” – John Piper

We remind ourselves of this quote often. It is so important to the work we do at GNPI, and it was the reason Jesus came to earth. He knew what people really needed, so He chose His priorities carefully and carried out His ministry with His desired end result in mind. He said in Mark 8:36, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

Peter said something similar in 1 Peter 1:9, “for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” In other words, Peter encouraged believers that no matter what they experienced this life, they had a guaranteed future for the next.

Back to Jesus. The miraculous resuscitation of Lazarus is an extreme example of meeting someone’s physical needs. We’d likely all agree that bringing someone back to life is a greater accomplishment than giving money to the poor. It’s more impressive than feeding the hungry, which Jesus did by the thousands. Yet even though this remarkable feat of raising someone from the dead is recorded for all time in Scripture, as far as we know Lazarus died again.

Even in meeting the most extreme physical needs, we have to keep as paramount the goal to understand, relate to people, and meet spiritual needs. This privilege has to be in our mind as the ultimate outcome when we minister to others.

C.S. Lewis said we are not bodies with souls, but rather souls with bodies. Bodies need to be watered, fed, loved, and cherished equally. At the end of the day, like the outer kernel of a seed that will open and die, new life follows. It is that new life Jesus died for, and it’s what will last forever.

At GNPI we strive to help our neighbors across the street and around the world. No matter their religion, status as a citizen or refugee, or color of their skin, we want to help in meeting the practical needs of those around us. What really stirs the passion of our hearts more than the water, food, clothing, or justice we can offer, is the best, lasting help mankind has ever known. It’s the truth of the Gospel in John 3:5, “No one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born of the water and the Spirit.

Most of all, let’s give people Jesus.

 

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