Inner turmoil can result from asking the popular question, “What would Jesus do?” A majority of the time we don’t know what Jesus would do. It gets so complicated. No quick answer comes when a woman repeatedly appears at our door expecting help to pay ongoing medical expenses; no immediate “knowing” when someone wants help paying school fees or to buy land or pay for their wedding or….
The voice of empathy urges that love is demonstrated through giving funds to meet the need. Compassion prompts us to listen fully to the story, inviting her/him into our time and heart-space. Reason screams that money is not the answer and won’t fix anything for them. Experience tells us hungry stomachs don’t hear what is being said (even if said in prayer). Fiscal sensibility reminds us we can’t fund every needy person.
What would Jesus do? So often we just plain don’t know. He sees the big picture. He always knows truth from scam. He works from the inside out, bringing transformation. Everything he did and every word he spoke was for the good, for a positive change. He is Love and he knows.
So our best response is to learn his ways, know his words, and let him transform us into knowing what he is doing so we can join him. We listen for his invitation and join in what he is doing.
One such invitation came to us to join him in empowering people in Africa to know the kingdom of God is at hand, within their grasp. We participate in training trainers in Community Health Empowerment (CHE). This model integrates community development, community health, and evangelism. God is the central focus, and his word is our main tool. Group trainings prepare local leaders to train others in their communities to live in right relationship with God, with self, with each other, and with the rest of creation. As they learn that God, their sovereign King, has provided what they need in order to live well in their community, true transformation gradually occurs, from the inside out. They realize that with God’s help, they can live out his gospel of love right where they are.
One small group of trainees in Burundi shared the following about early implementation of CHE in their community:
“Following our first week of training in CHE we began to plan together how to share in our community what we had learned about living in the kingdom of God. We felt we should show God’s love to our neighbors but we were having difficulty agreeing on any specific project to demonstrate love. We were still praying about it.
“Then it rained. The river came high. The rain didn’t stop. One evening the rain was finally too much and there were terrible mud slides and flooding. Homes were swept away and people were really suffering.
“Everyone cried out and wondered what could be done. We remembered our CHE training and we talked about the problem and the resources we had. We realized we had our strong muscles, we had many tools among us, and we had love because we have God.
“We organized ourselves quickly and went to where the mudslides were. We began going from destroyed home to home, digging as quickly as we could. We helped many people recover the bodies of their loved ones. We helped some recover important things, like documents.
“People began asking why we were doing this hard work when it wasn’t even our homes or our families. We told them we wanted them to know God loves them very much. They asked more questions and we got to share about Jesus Christ.
“Over the next several weeks our pastor was asked to help start a new church in that area where we helped the people. They said they wanted to learn more about the God that loved them enough to come to them. We have seen that living out God’s love gives us opportunity to help people know Jesus, by more than just our preaching or evangelizing alone. Now we see changes taking place that will last for always.”
Hearing reports like this from CHE trainers in Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi, and Kenya help us better understand what Jesus does. Taking time to care, to listen, and to share life together allows God’s love to flow, bringing transformation from the inside out. In this we find the answer to the question, “What would Jesus do?”