This year we want to help the victims of Israel’s recent war with Hezbollah.
Someone once asked a famous Jewish rabbi what the greatest commandment in the law is. Considering that there are 613 distinct commandments in the Torah, that’s not an easy question to answer.
But the rabbi replied: “‘”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”‘” (Matt. 22:37-39, NKJV).
Another time a lawyer asked the rabbi, regarding the second commandment, “‘And who is my neighbor?'” (Luke 10:29).
The rabbi answered with a story familiar to virtually every American.
He told about a Jewish man who fell among thieves and was wounded and left to die. The first two people who came upon him refused to help, but a man from an ethnic group usually antagonistic to Jews—the Samaritans—bandaged his wounds, put him on his own animal, took him to an inn and paid the innkeeper to take care of him (see Luke 10:30-35).
Today we call the compassionate man the “good Samaritan.” It’s a phrase that’s come to mean anyone who helps another in need.
If we were to tell the story in 21st century terms, we might say terrorists ambushed the Jew and the good Samaritan took him by ambulance to the local hospital and paid for his care.
That’s similar to what the readers of Charisma did last year. We raised money for Magen David Adom—Red Star of David—which is Israel’s version of the American Red Cross. With it we were able to purchase not just a standard ambulance but an “intensive care unit on wheels” that cost $99,000.
In all, Charisma readers gave about $50,000 through Christian Life Missions. Another $70,000 was donated by Christians and Jews in central Florida for a total of $120,000. Every dollar went to Magen David Adom. The extra money will be used toward another ambulance.
The first ambulance has an acknowledgement on it in both Hebrew and English that reads “From Christian friends in the USA,” indicating that it was purchased as a show of love from Christians to the Israeli people.
Part of the money for the ambulance was raised through the first “A Night to Honor Israel” event held in central Florida last November. This year there will be two such events in the state—one in Jacksonville on November 13 and the other in Orlando on November 14. Pastor John Hagee, who hosted the inaugural “A Night to Honor Israel” in San Antonio in 1981, will speak at both.
This year we are joining in a fundraising effort to help the victims of Israel’s recent war with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. We believe it is important for Christians to show their support for Israel and solidarity with the beleaguered people who live near the borders of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
Our project is to provide aid for families in the city of Maalot, Israel, that were bombarded with rockets. We will be working in cooperation with the mayor of Maalot through an Israeli charitable organization called the Joseph Storehouse. The funds will be distributed through the mayor’s office to ensure that they go directly to those most in need.
Our goal is to raise $100,000, and we are inviting readers of Charisma, along with those who attend “A Night to Honor Israel” events, to give generously to assist the hurting families. We pledge that 100 percent of what comes in from Charisma readers will go to this project.
You can send your tax-deductible gift to Christian Life Missions, Attn: A Night to Honor Israel, P.O. Box 952248, Lake Mary, FL 32795. Donations can also be made online at www.christianlifemissions.org. Like the Jew in the story, Israel has come under attack from many enemies and needs help to recover. Won’t you join us in our effort to be a modern-day good Samaritan?
Stephen Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma. To read past columns in Charisma by Stephen Strang, log on at www.charismamag.com/strang.