Tragedy brings out our best compassion. Money and other resources are flowing into devastated Haiti.
Faith groups are always at the forefront of such efforts in providing emergency services, daily provisions and long-term recovery. In fact, some organizations rallying to assist earthquake victims in Haiti still have teams rebuilding homes in the Gulf Coast more than four years after Hurricane Katrina.
Those who have the time and skills to volunteer in such dire situations are to be commended for their commitments. But their work is only possible when the generosity of many others provides the necessary resources.
So all kinds of efforts at raising funds to help the Haitian people have developed — from high-profile concerts to the quiet individual contributions of many. But I was particularly struck by the generosity of one congregation in Texas.
According to an ABP report, Paramount Baptist Church in Amarillo gave its entire weekly offering of $63,100 to the work in Haiti being carried out by Texas Baptist Men — a large, well-organized and effective disaster relief organization.
This was not a “special offering” or some money pulled from an unused missions account. It was the entire weekly intake — despite the fact that the congregation is $140,000 behind in meeting its annual budget.
Such an irrational act of compassion and generosity should be less surprising. It a step away from institutionalized faith and one closer to the kind of living shown and taught by Jesus.
Pastor Gil Lain, according to the story, said he has been preaching a sermon series about living passionately. “Part of living passionately is doing something drastic,” he said.
So the congregation — which includes many trained volunteers with Texas Baptist Men — saw this “drastic” decision to meet the basic and immediate needs of many Haitian people as an opportunity to be live more passionately.
And, I would add, to live more faithfully.
[These funds will be used by TBM to purchased much-needed water filters in Haiti.]