our passivity is killing people :: i’ll never forget this

November 5, 2010

I was sitting here with my Lucky Charms. 11:07PM.  Just between an assignment and studying for a Greek quiz in the morning.  Study break.

Then I watched this video. I will literally never forget what I feel right now.  My mind has been changed.  Probably my life.  Do you have 9 minutes?

First of all, I’m guilty. I have read John 12:8 and always thought it to be kind of a hopeless proclamation of ongoing poverty.  I’m done with that.  Jesus, forgive me.

Secondly, I love prompting ideas and discussion.  I love encouraging people to worship God because of His worthiness and beauty and mind-wrecking love for us.  But I don’t like to get on this soapbox and scold. Can you bare with me today?  Know that I speak this in love, and I’m preaching to myself, but it has to be said.

You and me… church people… we have let people die because of our indifference. It’s time to change your mind about the poor.  Especially in this awesome, God-blessed country, where even in the toughest of times, we are surrounded by abundance.  We can do this, Church, because God has given us EVERY RESOURCE needed to share our wealth and the love of Jesus with the world.  The whole world.

Sell stuff.  You’ve got more than you need.

Thirdly, I know that we don’t earn favor with God by doing more.  I know that our hope is built upon the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and Him risen again.  Grace alone, through faith in Jesus alone…  That is the beginning and end of our hope.  Don’t point a “works-righteousness” finger unless you’re convinced this challenge is somehow corrupting the gospel.  Because it’s not.  Serving the poor does not secure our favor with God, but it MUST be a result of it.  “Faith without works is dead.”

I Timothy 2:14 has this to say:  “Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…  gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

Zealous? I haven’t been that word.  I’ve been lazy, overwhelmed and faithless.  I’ve been passive about people in extreme poverty.  Passive. What’s wrong with me?  Well, today I’m taking the NEXT verse in Titus seriously…

“Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

So I’m on this soapbox.  Exhorting you, and maybe rebuking those who need it.  We must not remain passive. Let’s go Church!  Let’s break the bondage of extreme poverty – across the globe – in our generation.

If you wan to join forces with 58:,the organization that produced this video, click here to choose your fast.

But it doesn’t matter which organization we align with to fight poverty.  What matters is that we actually do it.

Creative Commons License
“our passivity is killing people :: i’ll never forget this” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Posts Twitter Facebook Google+

Psalm 24:7 & Luke 10:42 >> Like David, and Mary, I'm in pursuit of my one thing. I'm the Pastor at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery, IL. Pastor, teacher, writer, communicator, designer, and drummer. I definitely got the better deal in my marriage to Amy. And I couldn't be any more proud of my five amazing boys. Deeply grateful.

20 responses to our passivity is killing people :: i’ll never forget this

  1. Paul Schoolmeesters November 5, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Here’s the link:

    • Thank you a thousand times. I searched everywhere and could not find it. The site is not very seo friendly yet – I think it’s all too new. When I first watched this video, only about 300 people had seen it. Watch it blow into the thousands soon. Awesome, Paul. I’ve adjusted my post accordingly above. God bless you and your red headed bride. 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing, Josh. Powerful video and some important things to think about as we go through our days. It’s easy to be distracted and these types of messages are vital to bring us back to center. I’m a believer that if we would all just do a part, the job would get done. Some will be called to jump in full-force and go to the ends of the earth. Others will be called to give and support. If we all do SOMETHING, we could do some serious damage to this problem.

    • AMEN – and you’r welcome. I was surprised at how logical, clear, and passionate this message was delivered in 8.5 minutes. It’s an outstanding example of media used well, for one thing, but it literally did turn my mind around.

      Before – “This problem is too big. We can’t solve it anyway. Why even try? It’s a drop in the bucket.”

      Now – “Forgive me of my unbelief. Through You, Lord, we CAN do anything. You own the bucket… pour it out!”

  3. Amen! Josh – this has so been on my heart lately. Just finished reading David Platt’s Radical and I am really convicted. We are in the process of looking at a smaller house, selling our stuff and making some major changes. It makes me so sad how much we’re blinded to by our need for comfort.

    • Such is the American way – and I LOVE LOVE LOVE this country, and all of it’s freedoms, and all of its blessings. We just need to live awake to the reality of how good we actually have it. I don’t even know what to do with all of this yet. But I no longer feel that poverty is just an incurable scourge. We have been called by God to love people. If we don’t feed them bread, because we don’t care enough, how in God’s name can we possibly reach them with the bread of life?

      BOTH / AND. The Gospel… and help for the everyday.

  4. LOVE this! Thanks for sharing; reminds me specifically of 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” I know that in my own life I can struggle with feeling like I cannot do something for God, especially because of my age. I love this–should bring it up at LEAD. 🙂

    Bless you guys! Tell Seth that his drumming was AWESOME today, and that we missed the rest of your fam!

    • Amendment to that last sentence. We missed your fam today–also, tell Seth that his drumming was AWESOME. It just sounds funky otherwise…;-)

      • It’s not your age, Hannah Banana, that determines your impact on the world. It’s “Jesus Christ IN YOU, the HOPE of GLORY!” He chooses your footprint. You just keep on saying, “Here I am! Send me!” 🙂

        You’re already changing the world.

  5. hmmm…someone is starting to sound like a left-wing hippie radical – Supply-Side Economics Jesus does not approve 😉

    great video, Josh – and great post –


    • Who is this “Supply Side Economics Jesus” of whom you speak? 🙂

      I know man. That’s the problem. Unfortunately in America, we have many churches on two sides of an enormous gulf. On one side stands the Jesus lovers who are committed to SOUND DOCTRINE. On the other side stands the Jesus lovers who are committed to LOVEING PEOPLE. The Bible lovers are often reckless with people on the outside. The people lovers are often reckless with their doctrine.

      I dream of living out my faith in a church life that embraces BOTH/AND. Sound biblical teaching and a clear gospel message AND hands-on, life-changing LOVE of people. And not just the kind we write into our mission statement… but the kind that gives us calouses and inspires us to give up some stuff.

      Anyway, I’m trying to figure it out. Thanks for checking in, brother. I hope your hives have started to fade now that a few days have passed since the great Republican landslide of Novemeber 2010. God bless you and your financee. 🙂

  6. It’s amazing what a little context will do. This was a fantastic video. 🙂

    I agree – both/and. Doctrine is vital – but once you place it over people then you have a huge problem. I want to say that vaguely reminds me of some guys in Jesus’ time – you know, the ones he called vipers and whitewashed sepulchres? Yeah, them. 🙂

    • You’re right, Rachel. I don’t want to be one of those. I’m in. Thanks for reading, friend.

    • Okay… I don’t normally chime in to Josh’s blogs… but I can’t resist tonight.

      One thing we need to remember is that those vipers and whitewashed walls had their doctrine completely wrong. I agree YES they did put their doctrine above people, but it was their false doctrine. Real doctrine is the truths of God’s word in it’s truest sense. Thus it is fully impossible to put doctrine above people or people above doctrine if one understands both according to God in His word. Wow, that got wordy…

      In other words, the study of doctrine in the truth of God’s word reveals a true love of people and forces the honest student of scripture to put BOTH doctrine (that is scripture’s) and people above all else in this life.
      Matthew 22:37-40

      • JESSE! My brother from another mother, and fellow mate in the Seminary trenches… Glad you came up from your Ylvisaker long enough to chime in, dude.

        You are RIGHT. And having said that… Don’t you think it is true that even though many churches preach the fullness of the Gospel, and the Spirit is alive and moving, and people are encouraged in their faith… isn’t it true that even churches like that tend to ignore the plight of the truly destitute and impoverished? And I’m not even saying that to point fingers. It’s “normal,” and I’m not shooting arrows here. I love Living Hope, but we could care a whole lot more about this. How about Solid Rock? Great people, great Pastor, great God on the move there… do you think people there have broken hearts for the starving and penniless? And so SCRIPTURALLY speaking, I think your point has teeth.

        Unfortunately, I think that in American evangelical churches (like your and mine) we need to be disturbed a little bit. Because churches across the country (which will remain unnamed… but I’ve got a list)who are DANGEROUSLY loose with the truth of Jesus have substituted a walk of faith for a walk of SERVING. And it’s almost idolatrous (if not ACTUALLY idolatrous).

        And yet… they often out give and out serve evangelical communities who hold fast to the Truth. Why is that?

        Sin. I’m calling us out.

        Jesse, I love you, brother. Thanks for jumping in. VERY significant and important point. Bless you, dude – and feel better. You on my prayer list today.

        • Whoah, didn’t realize my comment had spawned discussion… 🙂

          I hadn’t meant to imply that they had correct doctrine – although, according to their religious beliefs at that time in history they sure thought they did!!

          Which brings me to my next point: in a perfectly balanced world we would have perfect doctrine. In a perfect world we wouldn’t have people who wanted to save unborn babies but supported war – or vice versa. In a perfect world we wouldn’t have people placing doctrine above people or people above truth.

          To me doctrine encompasses more than just “Jesus loves me, died for me. I can do nothing but He lives in me and therefore I am His child and heir and will be with Him in Heaven. Therefore I live to love Him and serve Him and love others and serve others.”

          There are myriads of “disputable matters” (Rom 14) that are part of the “doctrine” of any congregation. I agree, both/and – and I agree that if we could have perfect doctrine there wouldn’t be a way to place that above people.

          But we don’t. No church does. I know there are those who place people over doctrine – in essentials and/or non-essentials. But my experience has only ever been with those who place doctrine over person. And I think that is the human tendency. Kind of like self-righteousness.

          Just my 2c. 😉

        • Oh, and side note: There are more references to helping the poor, destitute and widows in the new testament than there is to faith or redemption or ANY major doctrine. So if, in our fallen world, there is going to be an imbalance, I would say that we would do well to imitate the “imbalance” of Jesus. 🙂

          • Stirring the pot… I like it.

            Here is the money quote for me: “In a perfect world we wouldn’t have people placing doctrine above people or people above truth.”

            So many verses running through my brain right now… If we have not love… the truth will set you free… all jumbled together.

            I say we HAVE that perfect world right now, to the degree that we recognize the tension of the BOTH/AND and we decide to model what it looks like to love the truth and love people without compromising either one. This is why one of the banner verses of my life is “speak the truth in love.”

            Easy to say. Hard to DO. But we can’t just SAY. We gotta DO.

  7. “I say we HAVE that perfect world right now, to the degree that we recognize the tension of the BOTH/AND and we decide to model what it looks like to love the truth and love people without compromising either one.”

    I feel like Winnie The Pooh right now… “think, think, think…” 😛

    “On earth as it is in Heaven…” -that’s what comes to mind. 🙂 So our goal here on earth is to choose to model that – what it looks like to love truth and people. I don’t think it will ever be 100% perfectly achieved 100% of the time, but I DO think we need to put our all into it. I’m definitely up for a ride on that bus. 🙂 I think that for me the clarification needs to come with the definition of “doctrine” and what that means to the discussion.

    What I am pondering is what, exactly, are the disputable matters of doctrine and where they fit into this discussion. Because I have this nagging feeling that a lot (maybe all) the times you have a doctrine over person issue it is because of the non-essentials.

    Probably about time I stop thinking this through out loud on your blog! 😛 But I have to say I completely agree with the idea that we can’t just say. We gotta DO. 🙂

  8. Okay, last one: THIS is what I’m talking about… hehehehe!