The Real Reason We Do What We Do by Travis Sharpe

When I first began to help the homeless, way back in 1996, I did it because my heart literally hurt for them. I absolutely couldn’t stand the fact that most of them were not only living in dire conditions, but they were also living with shattered dreams. Many people whom I met and became friends with shared their personal struggles and fears with me.

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As their friend and counselor, I did all I could to help. Person after person, I helped. You name it, chances are I have at one point or another done it, all in an effort to help. Some of those efforts made a real difference while some of them did not. I can treat wounds, but sometimes they return. I can provide shelter, but sometimes the people leave that shelter. I can even provide education and new opportunities in life, but sometimes they are not taken advantage of.

To be sure, we do spend much time, money, and effort on these “temporal” things and I believe in doing each and every one of them because they are needed, they are valid. However, all of these acts of kindness have one thing in common, they don’t last very long. They are temporary. They, along with our very lives on this earth are “here today and gone tomorrow.” They will one day vanish away.

On the other hand, when we preach the gospel and take the time to be a light and witness to people, we are offering the one gift that truly is eternal. Eternal life will never vanish or fade away. Earthly lives can be taken by death or even persecution, but eternal life is just that, eternal. Today, after 19 years of ministry, there seems to be one thing that holds true; the most important thing I have ever done for anyone is to tell them about Christ.

The gospel is universal and it works all around the world. It works the same for the extremely poor family living in a squatter village or the rich executive living in a fine home in a gated community. The gospel is not about what we do or do not possess. It’s not about our social status or our financial wherewithal. The gospel is about God’s answer for our sin debt. It is the good news that Jesus came to earth, lived without sin, became sin for us, died in our place, and rose again in victory.

Simply put, the gospel is God doing for us, what we could never do for ourselves, much less do for others. The gospel is scarce in the sense that there is but one source for it and it can never be re-manufactured. The great thing is that it’s not scarce in availability. The gospel is available and working around the world today and it is without a doubt the real reason we do what we do. As we meet the physical needs which help for a little while, we also preach the gospel which changes lives forever.

Today, my heart still hurts when I see those who are homeless or abandoned on city streets. My heart hurts for the mother who cannot afford food for her children and it hurts for the family that is fleeing civil unrest. I am deeply bothered by all of these things, but most of all I’m bothered by the fact that even though the gospel is universal and available, it’s still hidden to millions around the world.

In conclusion

The real reason we do what we do is to preach the gospel to the lost, hurting people whom God has sent us to. That’s the bottom line, that’s the end result. It would be tragic to clothe someone with new clothing but never tell them about the robe of righteousness. It would be tragic to provide an earthly home but never tell of a heavenly home.

Although I cannot see to it that everyone I minister to believes the gospel, I can see to it that they all hear the gospel. Our commitment is to keep the gospel front and center in all that we do because if we miss that, we have missed it all. The gospel is the real reason we do what we do!

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