I remember when I was preparing to take my first trip to Sudan in 2004. . . . A couple months before we left, I received a Christian news publication in the mail. . . . On the left one headline read, “First Baptist Church Celebrates New $23 Million Building.” A lengthy article followed, celebrating the church’s expensive new sanctuary. The exquisite marble, intricate design, and beautiful stained glass were all described in vivid detail.
On the right was a much smaller article. The headline for it read, “Baptist Relief Helps Sudanese Refugees.” Knowing I was about to go to Sudan, my attention was drawn. The article described how 350,000 refugees in western Sudan were dying of malnutrition and might not live to the end of the year. It briefly explained their plight and sufferings. The last sentence said that Baptists had sent money to help relieve the suffering of the Sudanese. I was excited until I got to the amount. . . . “Baptists have raised $5,000 to send to refugees in western Sudan.”
Five thousand dollars. That is not enough to get a plane into Sudan, much less one drop of water to people who need it. Twenty-three million dollars for an elaborate sanctuary and five thousand dollars for hundreds of starving men, women, and children, most of whom were dying apart from faith in Christ.
Where have we gone wrong? How did we get to the place where this is actually tolerable?
- David Platt