How Do We Respond To Population Growth? - Guidelines Devotional
July 3, 2020

How Do We Respond To Population Growth?

Speaker: Bonnie Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Defining the problem is easy; knowing what to do about it is the difficult part.  Every time the earth circles the sun, there are 360,000 new people that have been born.  United Nations data projects that there will be 11 billion people by 2100.  These figures, of course, are statistics–numbers which scientists, biologists, and demographers argue over.  They draw lines and battle over how many people the earth can sustain versus our human potential to provide for a growing population through science and technology.

But how does God look at these numbers?  Is He indifferent to what is happening?  Has He gone back into His heaven and closed the door, thinking, “They’ve messed it up pretty badly down there, let them figure it out?”

God is little concerned with statistics, but He is greatly concerned with people.  Statistics represent people, families such as the Lees, the Patels, the Ivanovs, the Smiths, and the Kims.  We are born not in numbers of tens of millions but one at a time as a baby comes into the world.

Those of us who take what God says in His word seriously, must also take what is happening in our world the same way.  It should never be just the scientists who take population growth seriously, but every Christian, who believes that people are important to God.

Many of Jesus’ most significant conversations took place with only one or two individuals.  Consider the kitchen conversations which Jesus had with Mary, Martha, and brother Lazarus, or the nighttime dialogue of Jesus with Nicodemus. Or what of the long conversation which took place between Jesus and a woman of less-than-perfect background at the well of Sychar, recorded in the Bible book of John 4.  On one occasion Jesus took His disciples and walked a distance of at least 100 kilometers or 60 miles from His home base to talk to a Greek woman who was considered by Jesus’ Jewish peers as low socially as a stray dog.  She was important to Jesus, and there is no record that Jesus spent time with anyone else on this trip, save this one lone woman.

Perhaps the most well-known verse in the Bible, John 3:16, gives us something of the feelings of the heart of God towards the masses of the world.  Remember, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

But loving the world generically is not enough.  In his book, The Taste of Joy, Calvin Miller wrote, “Christians state glibly that they love the whole world, while they permit themselves animosities within their immediate world.  World love is a philosophical credo.  But loving the world at large can only be done by loving face to face the world that is not so distant.  It is foolish to say, “We love humanity; it’s people we can’t stand.”

No child of God can shut his mind or purse to the needs of families around the world today.  No, God has not gone back to heaven and closed the door.  He has given clear instruction to His children to respond to the suffering, the hungry, and the needy in His name as His representatives.

Have you heard the phrase, “the hands of God are often found at the end of your own arms?”  He has none other through whom He sends help and healing.

Who around you, in your workplace, in your neighborhood or on the other side of the city you live in, has needs that you could meet?  Can’t think of any?  Look harder.  Call your church or a local community organization. Sharing John 3:16 might begin with a meal, a package of diapers or a ride to the doctor.

Resource reading: John 3:16-21

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