I’ve grown up in the church my whole life, and have always been aware of the fact that Christians are “supposed to help people”. I was aware that this stemmed from God’s commands and in response to Jesus’ sacrifice for the sins of the world, but for me, it was much more of an intellectual concept than a practical lifestyle. It was the correct answer to a question, not a reflection of my actions. I didn’t even recognize it at the time, but I didn’t have enough perspective; all I could see was me and my immediate surroundings. Fortunately though, this became a perfect set-up for God to reveal some profound truth in my life.
In the months leading up to CAM’s trip to Jacksonville, God had begun stirring in me a passion for Scripture, and to worship him for who he truly is. I set out to study how Jesus actually lived his life on earth: what he said, what he did, and how he interacted with people. I wanted to know God.
Arriving in Jacksonville, we began serving the Brentwood community and learning truth from Scripture about God’s heart for reconciliation in the midst of injustice – that God is in the process of restoring all relationships. We read verse after verse about God upholding the cause of the oppressed (Psalm 146:7-9), demanding justice over vanity (Luke 11:42), and that he is the defender of the poor, the needy, and the fatherless (Proverbs 22:22, 23:10). These all resonated with what I had previously known, but in light of what I had been learning, there was one passage that hit home pretty hard.
“He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 22:16
Again, “…is that not what it means to KNOW me?’ declares the Lord.” God is declaring that defending the cause of the poor and needy is what it looks like to know him! To follow Jesus is to know God. Knowing God means practically battling injustice, not just knowing the right answers.
Tim – former University of Notre Dame student