Thank you for your question! While undoubtedly, I believe the Lord is most concerned about our souls and pursues us to have eternal life with Him, we also live in a broken world where pain and suffering abound and where injustices impact so many precious lives individually and systematically. In that fallenness, I believe He has not only allowed us, but also called us, His church, to be the response to these social issues. He allows us to be a part of the plan for redemption of the world, and that starts with meeting the world where it is. As people who believe that the gospel has the power to transform lives and communities, we can’t afford NOT to take that gospel into every aspect of humanity and use it to address all the injustices our world faces.
Additionally, I have seen countless times how meeting a physical need actually creates a bridge and builds trust to where deeper, spiritual questions can be asked. It is worth noting though that I do not think this should be our only motivation in engaging in social issues; I think that caring about social needs has to also out of a love for humanity and our belief that people, in their brokenness, are worth pursuing, even if it they never come to know the Lord. Our role, as believers, has to be one of relentless love for them. This is what we see modeled in Jesus in His ministry.
While there are many scriptures challenging us to engage in social issues, the following is likely very familiar, but an appropriate scripture for this topic:
Matthew 25:37-40, “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
It could be that the Lord has put something deep within me to carry out my specific calling, but I personally feel most alive and connected to Him when I am engaging in a social issue. In these moments of encountering some of the deepest pains in this world, I feel the closest to Christ. A few months ago, I was in India visiting one of the organizations Wellspring supports. It is a home for elderly who have been abandoned on the streets and left to die. The home we supports has over 200 residents living there. As I walked through that home and held the elders’ hands, tears fell down my face as I truly felt I was looking into the eyes of Christ. I was communing with Him. As a leader of another organization we support said to me, in this brokenness, this is where we find Christ. This is where He dwells.
Thank you for your again for your valuable question, Carson. I know social issues are something you care deeply about. You have my prayers as you continue to engage in this important work.