“… with the prevailing emphasis on ecology and poverty, many would be hard-pressed to agree with George Smeaton that “to convert one sinner from his way, is an event of greater importance, than the deliverance of a whole kingdom from temporal evil.” – Sinclair Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life
That quote from George Smeaton is likely to rub the skin off the theology of many Christians. Or it will rub sound theology off their skin. It shouldn’t do either because it is putting spiritual life above the temporal physical life. Both are important, we should help those who are in need on a temporal level and more importantly think of their eternity. Jesus’ words help us to keep eternity far above physical comfort.
“What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?”
It is important to remind ourselves of the foremost priority and calling of the Church. No, it is not to be one big welfare and social services department. It is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation to reconcile sinful man to the holy God through Christ by the power of His Spirit (Rom. 1:16; 2 Cor. 5:18-21). All of our good works towards and for our fellow man should not lose focus of the greater need, which is actually the real need, the pressing need of every person.
In my opinion, William and Catherine Booth had the balance when they formed The Salvation Army: “Heart to God, Hand to man.” There we have it, in proper priority and order.