Early in my faith walk I had no time to even think about others let alone speak up for them. I was too busy thinking about myself and sticking up for me in the dog-eat-dog race to succeed, acquire, and seek pleasure.
Thinking about standing up for the poor and oppressed wasn’t even a possibility because it never flashed across my radar screen. How could I stand up for someone else when I only thought about myself?
But then God stepped in . . .
“Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless.” Proverbs 31:8 GNT
At first I thought God wanted me to “do things” for those less fortunate than me. Good works like this, though sterile and transactional, are definitely part of the equation. They just aren’t the most important part.
Without Jesus as the motivating force, we are caring for others out of selfish motives so we can chat about our mission trip to Haiti at a cocktail party or slip a story about something good we have done into our life narrative. We end up defending the defenseless because it’s cool and gets us “good person points.”
This dangerous gambit can quickly devolve into the “Angelina Jolie brand of good works” that ditches the Gospel of Christ. Strays from the reality that man needs to be saved by grace from his sins. Forgets that God saved us to serve others.
The service Solomon and Jesus speak of flows out of us because we have been brought from hopeless darkness into hopeful light by the extravagant grace of Jesus Christ.
Here is how I approach God on this subject . . .
Don’t give me status, give me a platform for service. Don’t give me things to use, use me. Don’t give me satisfaction, teach me to sacrifice by standing up for those who cannot stand for themselves.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Is there someone today that needs you to stand up for? To speak for? To care for?