From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
A familiar passage that motivates humanitarian work says, “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40). But meeting the needs of others is much more than just meeting physical needs. The work of the Lord Jesus Christ is wrapped up in this: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace … who proclaims salvation” (Isaiah 52:7).
Meeting outward needs has no lasting affect if we do not preach God’s truth. The word of God is the all-important action. Meeting people’s needs without the message is known as the “social gospel,” but there is no such thing as a “social gospel.” There is only one Gospel. “If any one preaches any other gospel to you … let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:9). Proclaiming the Gospel must have priority. This is the only hope for mankind. The Gospel, not humanitarian aid, is the Christian’s mandate.
Christians have founded orphanages, hospitals, universities and prison ministries for the purpose to proclaim the Gospel. The Gospel shows people their emptiness and bestows on them love. It shows them their bondage and supplies the hammer to knock away their chains. It shows them their nakedness and provides them the garments of purity. It shows them their poverty and pours into their lives the wealth of Heaven. It shows them their sins and points them to the Savior. This is the heart of Christ and the reason why His followers reach out to others. The result is “bringing forth fruit” (Colossians 1:6).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)