Christian Philanthropist: Jesus is Hidden in Every Poor, Sick Person

A charity banquet raised by Shanghai Christians was held on Dec. 1, 2015
A charity banquet raised by Shanghai Christians was held on Dec. 1, 2015 (photo:
By CCD contributor: Shuai HuoshiAugust 24th, 2020

The reason why Christians are keen to be involved in philanthropy may be to practice the biblical principles of loving God and loving neighbors as ourselves. The second clause is probably to help us learn how to love through loving others to gain life and spiritual growth.

Below is an interview by Gospel Times, a Chinese Christian newspaper, with a Christian philanthropist on his journey and internal struggles. His pseudonym is Steven Li for safety reasons.

Gospel Times: Why did you join in philanthropy?

Steven Li: There were two original intentions: the first one was to improve and perfect myself. I expected the distillation of my thinking, other co-workers through communication, renewal of my ideas, and the growth of life during the ministry. Meanwhile, I could grow with others through communication and discussions. 

Secondly, it was meant to improve my public welfare philosophy and solidate my convictions in doing it. It’s not enough to have a pure heart and passion for philanthropy. The guidance and help from the Holy Spirit are more needed because only when we have the mindset as Christ can we not hold ourselves high. 

Gospel Times: Could you explain your experiences in public welfare or social service?

Steven Li: I have a job involved in medial relief, so I’m engaged in medical aid ministries. In these ministries, I am in close touch with disadvantaged groups and sick patients. I’m deeply touched by the sadness and suffering of marginalized groups.

While providing medical aid to them, I also comfort them with caring words and accompany them in the face of hardship. Besides offering physical help and care, we need to give them real, warm company and friendship.

Gospel Times: What social issue are you most concerned about? Why?

Steven Li: I care most about the aid and care for severely ill patients because I’ve seen their difficulties and suffering in my work and ministry. Many families become poor due to sickness. Many patients lose confidence and some even commit suicide. They are truly weak people as their spirits have been affected by tremendous traumas. To make the wounded not cry anymore, I urge everyone to provide poor and sick families humanized care and help. 

We also need to encourage those people to help them restore confidence in their life and stay positive and strong to face their future. As a Christian, I invite them to pray together that God may bless them. Though some of them are not Christians, they are pleased to join in praying. Their prayers are very godly. I think that God’s great love is touching their heart.

Gospel Times: Do you have any insight or suggestions based on your work as a philanthropist?

Steven Li: A stream of loving and executive public welfare organizations sprang up in my area. They have contributed to aiding left-behind children and disabled people, saving sick patients, and caring for lonely elderly people.

However, when you look at the entire scope, they have some defects and disadvantages. First, local not-for-profit groups lack money and professionals and have a loose structure, so their influence is limited. To get financial support, some collaborate with businesses that embed their advertisements in their giving. That makes philanthropy utilitarian and secular.

Christian philanthropy is a long road that lasts our lifetime. There will be many difficulties and obstacles as well as sneers, persecution, and obstruction from others, but God grants us infinite faith and courage to keep moving in the direction of ideal philanthropy.

Mother Teresa, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, told us: “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.”

A philanthropist said, “Jesus is hidden in the life of every poor and sick person, so we’re serving Jesus when we’re serving the afflicted.”

Matthew 10:42 says, “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

Gospel Times: What quality and capability do you think philanthropists need?

Steven Li: There are three qualities. The first is persistent love.  This love must be pure without any selfish motivation and last a lifetime. The second is a will that endures.  As there are many difficulties and setbacks on the path, professionals need a determined will and indomitable vitality. The last is self-sacrificial dedication. With such dedication, they can resist utilitarianism and secularism.

They also four capabilities: strong execution and decision-making ability, resiliency, teamwork, and the dependence on the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Gospel Times: What contribution can you bring to local philanthropy?

Steven Li: As a member of a medical aid society, my special identity can do something. I can offer first-hand information about charity laws to non-profit groups. I can also serve as a bridge between the groups, enterprises, and governments.

Gospel Times: Have you ever attended any philanthropy-related course or training in the past two years?

Steven Li: I joined in a professional skill training held by a medical aid organization, including laws and regulations, skills, emergency handling, and psychological pressure resistance practice. I was very impressed with an emergency training for common people. The content contained mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, empyrosis rescue, and animal bite emergency treatment.  There is always prime time to rescue others. Effective rescue largely enhances recovery rates of affected people. So I was convinced that philanthropy must be a part of public life. In the real philanthropy way, many people do a little, not a single person doing much. Thousands of drops of love mingle in great love.

Gospel Times: Do you have any expectations or ideas about your philanthropic career? Any plan for your personal study?

Steven Li: I expect to learn rich philanthropic ideas, obtain spiritual growth from conversations with professionals, and progress with the encouragement of my peers.

My suggestion for Christian charities lies in less abstruse, high-profile ideas and more emphasis on practice and practicability. I also wish training programs not to be one-size-fits-all. It should be tailored to different personalities and work of students. 

I suggest teachers have one-on-one talks and communications with students in which they are expected to put forward constructive advises.

I believe that Christian philanthropy can integrate faith and hope with love under the guidance of and revelation from God. This is similar to what the Bible tells us: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. ” (Matthew 5:13-14)

- Translated by Karen Luo

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