Famous televangelist, Pastor Joel Osteen, reportedly wasn’t ready to open up his massive mega-church when the devastating Hurricane Harvey tore through Houston this last week. First there was the excuse that the church was unsafe that couldn’t be verified and then that the city hadn’t ask them to be a shelter. Here are three Bible verses that indicate that Pastor Joel Osteen and Lakewood church’s actions were not in alignment with Biblical principles. If God were to make a statement on the situation, this might be it.
Invoking the wrong authority
Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
Isaiah 58:7 (New Living Translation)
The context describes a people asking God why he is so annoyed with their worship. God angrily tells them that they aren’t giving him what he asks for. Indeed, he wants a people who are taking care of the oppressed and needy around them. I encourage you to read the whole chapter. Joel Osteen said that he wasn’t asked by the city to be a shelter. Well, God already told him to do it. There was no reason to wait for the city to ask. If anything, he should have been asking how he could help.
Cart before the horse
If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth
by our actions.
1 John 3:17-18 (New Living Translation)
Joel Osteen was quick to tweet out his prayers for his fellow Houstonians, but slow to show put concrete actions behind those words. At the very least, he could have been seriously considering some concrete plans.
Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
2 Timothy 4:2 (New Living Translation)
It seems easy for Joel Osteen to preach God’s word with his mouth. How every Bible writer James would probably ask him, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” (James 2:14, New Living Translation). The word of God must be preached with words and actions in every situation. I like how the Amplified Version puts it: …be ready when the time is right and even when it is not [keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome].
All that being said, there have been many times when I haven’t done much better at sticking to my principles. Those times present the opportunity to humbly repent, ask for forgiveness and start doing the right thing. That’s part of the Christian walk. If Pastor Osteen truly values Christian Biblical principles, I hope takes this opportunity to acknowledge were he has deviated from Biblical principles and make things right.
Have you wandered away from your principles on some issue? How did you make things right?