Sundays at 10:30 AM — Get directions

God's Economy
By: Chris Culver

Last week conservative political commentator Ann Coulter published a column in which she called Dr. Kent Brantly idiotic. Dr. Brantly contracted Ebola, a disease with no known cure and a 90% mortality rate, while doing medical missions in Africa. After contracting Ebola, Christian charities spent over $2 million to fly him and his nurse home in specially equipped planes so they could receive care in America. Coulter asked, “Why did Dr. Brantly have to go to Africa?” “Can't anyone serve Christ in America anymore?” America has problems too, she points out. Coulter suggests that Christians are tired of being mocked here in the US so they “slink off to Third World countries.” All that time and money would be better spent evangelizing influential power brokers in America. She believes that if Dr. Brantly had converted “one single Hollywood power-broker to Christ, he would have done more good for the entire world than anything he could accomplish in a century spent in Liberia. Ebola kills only the body; the virus of spiritual bankruptcy and moral decadence spread by so many Hollywood movies infects the world.” She concludes that this is an example of Christian narcissism.   This has, of course, resulted in the furious hammering of keyboards in every corner of the internet. Many Christians are not happy at all about this. But how should we respond? What should we think about her comments and how should we engage with one another? First, let’s consider what she says. My initial reaction to articles critical of Christianity is typically outrage followed by sadness, but we need to ask ourselves if our critics have a point. Can Christians and even missions be self serving? Sure. There was a guy in the Bible named Simon that offered Peter money for the power to lay hands on people and give them the Holy Spirit. Peter lays into him saying that he wanted the power for all the wrong reasons. He wanted the attention. Missions and Christian service can be done with the desire to draw attention to us and what we are doing. But there is no evidence that this was Dr. Brantly’s heart. As matter of fact, there is evidence to contradict that perception. But we should always be on guard against making the work of Christ about us.   Could the money have been spent more responsibly? Maybe, at least from a human perspective. If we run the math, just think what could have been done with all that money! But here is where Coulter misunderstands the Gospel. God’s economy does not mirror ours. The price tag he places on things is different than the tag we would place on them. Remember the story of the widow’s offering? She put far less in the offering box than others but Jesus said she put in the most because she gave all she had. This is about more than the gesture. God will do more with her tiny gift and her obedience than all the money in the world! Here is a great truth: God doesn’t need your money. I know it’s hard to believe but it’s true. Somehow he will muddle along and find a way to keep the universe spinning without our gifts. He places more value on the obedience and the heart than the dollar figure.   Do Americans need help too? Yes! Of course! But this isn’t a choice we have to make. We can minister here, where we live, and across the globe. Plus, God is especially concerned with the poor. It is all over Scripture. Who did Jesus take His message to? The poor! The outsiders! Those that needed help! That’s where he brought comfort. It is definitely for America too, but the hurting are aching for care. We should definitely go.   I think we respond in love. We have to. Ann Coulter misunderstands. So I pray for her. You should too. And for Dr. Brantly. And Liberia. If it comes up in conversation, it gives me a wonderful opportunity to share the surpassing value of Jesus and obedience. I’m grateful for the opportunity. Listen and love.   -Chris