The concept of Ingathering may be for many Seventh-day Adventists, the time of year when the members are called upon to solicit funds for the Church’s mission outreach program. Should this be the main focus of Ingathering? Take a look at scripture. Ask God to guide you as you witness for Him and minister to those in need. Consider these few points: (1) Jesus spoke to the selfishness in people when He said, “What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul; or what can he exchange for his soul; and lay not up for yourselves, treasures on the earth” (Matthew 16:26 & 6:19).
The golden rule was Christ’s answer to the selfish desire of our hearts to focus on materialism and ourselves. He said, “And as you would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). It is unlikely that anyone in need would reject help. The challenging question is how would anyone know your situation if you say nothing? Should those who know, simply ignore your needs? (2) Ingathering is a program that has support in the word of God. Consider 1 Corinthians 16:1-3 which calls for the collection for the saints.
The apostle Paul instructed the believers to prepare their packages and gifts, on the first day of the week, whether of: produce, clothes or money to be sent to Jerusalem, so he would not be held up by gathering these donations from their homes. This program was to help the Christians and others because of the famine in Jerusalem. There are great economic challenges in theBahamas and as a result, people are faced with the realities of the time; many families are in need of the three basic needs of humanity: food, clothes and shelter.
The South Bahamas Conference extends support to the needy on a daily basis. (3) Again in the words of Christ, we are instructed to meet the needs of people in the community, whether they are Christians or not. Matthew 25:34 - 36, points out that God will reward the saints who are saved when He returns because they: fed those who were hungry, gave water to those who thirst, visited those in prison, sheltered those in need, clothed those who were naked, and visited those who were sick. Jesus said, “As often as we do it unto the least of persons, it is done unto Him. These six ministries of compassion will be God’s measuring rod along with obedience to His commandments for those who will be eligible to enter heaven’s gates (Rev. 22:14).
By participating in the Ingathering Program, we accomplish two things: (a) Persons helped have the opportunity to be compassionate and do for others as they would want done to them and for them. (b) We witness for Christ to the entire nation giving a powerful message that we are our brothers’ keepers. God will hold us to this. Therefore, in confidence, with love for souls, and joy as Christ’s witnesses, let us go Ingathering.
Dr. Wilfred Adderley, Former Director, South Bahamas Conference