The phrase “human care” may evoke many images in your mind. Human care includes helping those who have just experienced a disaster. In our district, we are blessed with men and women trained to be early responders who also become part of a team; hence the name Lutheran Early Response Team (LERT). They provide human care by going to disaster sites and helping people clean up, and restore and rebuild their homes.
Human care also evokes images of life issues. All of us are called by God to promote and support the dignity and rights of unborn children, those who are handicapped and the aged. We have task forces in place that deal with senior adult ministry and the needs of the physically and mentally disabled in our Indiana District. We also try to help the impoverished and displaced. All of these things involve human care.
There are 11 Recognized Service Organizations (RSOs) in our district that deal with helping people in various ways. For example:
- Lutheran Life Villages is an RSO that provides “Aging Services, Chaplaincy Services, Children and Youth Services and Housing Support.”
- Lutheran Social Services, Inc. provides “Abuse Prevention/ Treatment, Adoption, Advocacy, Children and Youth Services, Counseling and Mental Health, Emergency Services, Information and Referral, Life Enrichment Services, Pregnancy Counseling, Addiction Prevention/Treatment and Trauma Intervention.”
- Hands of Mercy provides “Advocacy, Life Enrichment Services and Developmentally Disabled Services in South Sudan.”
Human care is indeed important and it is something that we all should be involved in. Why is that so? Because Christians are people who live to serve God and others above themselves.
The Rev. Dr. Jacob A.O. Preus III has aptly written: “Before God we are only passive and receptive. But before our fellow human beings, we are only active and giving. We live in the neighbor through love. Good works have nothing to do with our relationship of faith with God, but they have everything to do with our relationship of love with our fellow human beings. Our good works are irrelevant and even shameful before the perfection of Christ, but they are not only relevant, they are absolutely necessary before the needs of our neighbor. Thus, the Christian pours himself out and herself out in love for others and gives unstintingly in good works for the neighbor.”
LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison reminds us that we have not done all that we should do as Christians if we simply show mercy to others without sharing with them the greatest news of all time. Harrison writes: “This fundamental truth of the Bible, that there is no salvation outside of faith in Christ and His merits, animates the church’s work for those in need. If this is not so, such work becomes merely secular, and may be performed by any entity in society.”
Human care is how we show genuine love for others. But it is a rather hollow love if we don’t share with them the Savior, Jesus the Christ!
Written by Rev. Geoff Robinson, Outreach Executive
First published in the June / July 2017 edition of the Lutheran Witness