Reflecting on Venture’s theme of “biblical justice” in Thailand
By Rebekah Jacobson
I first remember hearing the term “biblical justice” with Venture Expeditions. Of course, I had heard about justice itself many times before and I was familiar with various non-profits whose purposes were to establish justice for people.
However, the act of justice is incomplete if it only strives to do good for others. Justice needs to be more than philanthropy; otherwise its influence is only temporary.
Justice needs to be biblical, as described in Isaiah 61:1: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
Jesus quoted this at the beginning of his ministry, and because we, as Christians, are called to be imitators of Christ, then we are called to be advocates of biblical justice.
The Gospel must be shared alongside acts of justice in order for an eternal impact to be made. This is biblical justice.
Ryan Skoog stated it well at a Venture Expeditions meeting last spring before I came to Thailand: “Justice without God is just giving people a smoother ride to hell.”
This sounds harsh, but it is reality. Biblical justice is the only way that ensures that both the physical needs and spiritual needs of others are met.
The last core theme of Venture Expeditions is biblical justice. In my previous three blogs, I wrote about Venture’s model of physical sacrifice in community with Christ. This is the means of Venture’s work, and the product of these elements is to establish biblical justice.
In Thailand, there are two main outputs of biblical justice: the HOSEA Center and the feeding program along the Thai-Burmese border.
The HOSEA Center is Venture’s human development foundation located about 10 miles outside of Chiang Mai. The center hosts an after-school program during the week for children to learn English, and on Saturdays, the volunteers at the center teach Bible lessons to the children.
Education is one goal of the center, but more importantly is the goal of sharing the Gospel with every child that walks through its doors. By learning English, the children have greater job opportunities, which give them a brighter future.
However, English-speaking skills will eventually simmer. It is the Gospel that will change the children’s lives by giving them hope for the future, because in Buddhism, hope is nonexistent. Buddhists are very individualistic, and they do things simply to gain merit towards a better life once they are reincarnated.
It is so crucial that the Gospel is communicated to the children at the HOSEA Center. Currently, there are eight Christian children who attend the center regularly. These children are being discipled by mentors and each other, and some of them would like to be missionaries and pastors someday.
The feeding program along the Thai-Burmese border is a project that Venture operates with FMSC (Feed My Starving Children). A ministry in a town near the border stores the packaged meals and then distributes them to a refugee camp six times each year.
These meals provide physical nourishment to the refugees. Because the refugees do not have I.D. cards, they do not receive sufficient income. Sometimes feeding their family is a challenge, so the FMSC meals help with this.
One lady thanked the Venture team at a meal distribution site this summer: “We are very happy to receive this food and we thank God for bringing friends here.”
In addition to handing out FMSC meals, however, the program seeks to share the Gospel with the recipients of the meals as well. The ministry workers as well as short-term teams, like Venture’s team over the summer, host services to share the Gospel with the refugees.
It is so important that nourishment is spiritual as well as physical. If the Gospel is not being shared along with the distribution of food, then only physical hunger is relieved. The spiritual hunger still aches inside.
Biblical justice is the reason that Venture Expeditions exists. Venture doesn’t just help people for people’s sake, but they help people to glorify God. They want the kingdom of God to be established on earth, and in order to do this, injustice must be eliminated and the Gospel must be spread.