"If today we are being called to account over doing good (...) then let it be known to all of you (...) it is in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth." (Acts 4:9-10)
Yesterday I was put to the test. IAMercy recently received a generous donation from a woman who has begun to care for the work we are doing for the poor in Nairobi. She is associated with an organization who is willing to match her donation. We had the opportunity to receive double the funds.
The matching organization sent me a form to fill out. Based on the way some of the questions were worded I wondered if we would receive the match if I was too explicit about our Christianity. The temptation (and I am ashamed to say that I fell into it at first) was simply to write of what we are doing and not mention the name of Jesus. After all, we are providing around 350 to 400 individual meals a month to street children and other poor people in Nairobi (five meals a week with around twenty mouths to feed at each meal, four weeks a month - you can do the math). Moreover, we are providing food, shelter, clothing, and education to a good number of boys who used to be on the streets. I mean - after all - does the matching organization really need to know that we do all of this for Christ's sake and in His name?
But no sooner had I filled out the form than I felt convicted. What came into my mind was, "Seth - all that you do, and all that IAMercy does, is to show people the love of Jesus. It is Christ in you doing these works of care for the poor. These things are not done in your name - not even in the name of IAMercy - but in the name of Jesus. If it is Christ in you caring for the poor, then would He not do it in His own name? And God is the provider - not this organization. What is more important, to receive these particular funds? Or for everyone, including this organization (which may choose not to give the money after all) - to know that it is actually Jesus caring for the poor through you?"
After feeling rebuked in spirit I went back and changed the answers. I felt as though I had temporarily lost my sanity by not proclaiming Christ on the form originally. I even felt joy as I changed the answers - sensing that to not receive the money for having been explicit about Jesus would be a great honor, if it came down to it.
This morning as I reflected on the situation I was reminded of Acts 3. When Peter and John went to the Temple there was a crippled man there. He was begging for money. But the apostles apparently didn't have any money - and they didn't think it was the real answer to his problem anyway. Peter said to him, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk" (Acts 3:6, NIV).
We often have a man attend our feedings who struggles with his legs. His name is John. He is not crippled or lame. But, he walks with a significant limp. One of his feet is turned inward and it seems to have impacted his abilities in life.
Today I'm very glad to own - to everyone - that the kindness we show John is not primarily fueled by money and it is not for my glory or the glory of IAMercy. The acts of kindness we show him (and all others) are empowered by the name of Jesus. They are done for His glory and for the glory of the Father.
In Nomine Christi,