I trust that believers all around the world are praying for grace in the midst of the great catastrophe that has hit Japan. This is also an appropriate opportunity to remind Christians that prayer and works of compassion reflect the very character of God. In other words, Christians are not just supposed to help others in hopes that wet get the opportunity to witness to them (though all the better if that happens!). Rather, Christians are to help others, expecting nothing in return, because that is a reflection of the character of God himself! Thus, "be merciful, even as your father is merciful" (Luke 6:36, ESV).
Clearly the Christian is not to allow concern for physical or socio-economical needs trump spiritual needs. Our job first-and-foremost is to be heralds of the kingdom. Neglect of proclaiming the gospel (Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptrues, and was buried, and rose again) is inexcusible.
Nevertheless, often we as Christians have become so caught up in proclaiming that we forget about doing. Christ performed acts of kindness throughout his ministry not because it caused people to listen to him more, and not because it helped his ministry. Rather, Christ performed acts of kindness because he was the Son of God and consequently "had compassion on them" (Matthew 14:14, ESV)
My challange, then, is this: whenever we hear of a disaster or whenever we see those in need, our first reaction should be to pray and to ask, "How can I help?" It is the Christian's duty to show compassion for the sake of showing compassion, because compassion itself is a character trait of God the Father. If the Lord allows us the opportunity to help somebody, then we can rejoice that we are reflecting the ethic of God.