It’s so easy to hand out advice.
Especially as someone who loves the feeling of solving a problem for someone, it’s so tempting to recommend temporary solutions and get on my own soapboxes: you should homeschool, you should read this how-to book, try eating gluten free, try this time management idea … While none of these ideas are bad, and sometimes I can truly help someone by recommending an idea, I’ve been convicted lately that none of these things will truly help those around me. It is so easy for me to become more of a proponent of some “movement” instead of the gospel, pure and simple.
I recently listened to Voddie Baucham’s powerful talk “Gospel Clarity,” in which he addresses firsthand the racial theories dividing our society. His testimony as an African American, former inner city kid, is powerful: “I was raised by a single teenage Buddhist mother, never heard the gospel until I went to university, raised without my father, who left us when I was just a couple of years old, raised in a drug-infested, gang-infested environment, raised in a situation that people would refer to as oppressed — and my greatest need was met, not when somebody delivered me from some kind of human oppression, but when somebody shared the gospel of Jesus Christ and delivered me from the oppression of sin.”
While there are thousands of organizations trying to do good and meet needs around the world, no external fix will ever truly solve the issue of man’s sin problem before God. Our giving of food or clean water or housing or love is only as effective as we’re giving the gospel along with it.
This Christmas season, let’s not hand out shallow advice. Let’s give our friends, our neighbors, our own hearts, the only solution that will truly last: the gospel.