Some Christians feel that there is a tough choice to be made between giving practical aid to people in need and providing spiritual support such as giving away Bibles or supporting church ministers’ stipends.
This story from Zambia posted by the Bible Society shows that there is no division between practical and spiritual aid. People are whole beings – body and soul together. Material and spiritual support need each other to be most effective.
“Marita has been living with HIV for three years. She suspects it came from her husband
who died four years ago. ‘How could God, whom I have served with a full heart for so many years, allow this tohappen?’ she cries.
There was no medication, apart from antimalarials and painkillers. And Marita moved
from church to church in the hope of finding a miracle that could cure her.
But when she attended the launch of the Good Samaritan programme in Lusaka,
Zambia, Marita heard that ‘the Good Samaritan did not stand by the roadside and
pray for a miracle for the beaten man. ‘He got practical by lifting him up, bandaging
him, and taking him to an inn to be attended to,’ explained Konstanse Raen,
the originator of the Bible-based education programme.
‘Christianity is about actions, not just words,’ she added. ‘Christians should not ignore the
effects of HIV and AIDS, but care for those who are infected and affected.’
Many churches have yet to come up with programmes to address the HIV and AIDS
pandemic that has continued to take its toll on people’s lives – both inside and outside the
But the Good Samaritan programme, backed by Bible Society, takes a practical approach
– looking at ways in which the church can reduce infection rates, care for those with
HIV and AIDS, and offer support to children, relatives, friends and parents of the victims.
The launch of the programme was attended by representatives of 16 churches, and
workshops are now running in Lusaka and Livingstone, with plans to expand to three
more areas this year.”
So good quality Bible-based teaching can inspire individuals and families to make the changes in heart and mind which saves lives and supports social and economic development