1996-06-12 - Helping the Poor
Well, as always, when I hear or read a lot about something in a short period of time, I figure God is sending me a message. : ) One of His recent reminders to me is about His desire for us to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves. I was reading an article in "Discipleship Journal" recently. They jogged my memory with a verse that really grabbed my heart:
Prov 14:31 (NIV) He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
So helping the poor honors God. This really made me stop and think....
And a bonus of helping the poor, is that we will be blessed in doing it!
Prov 14:21 (NIV) He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.
Also, sometimes the blessings come directly from the poor themselves! Sometimes we who minister to the poor tend to think we do all the "giving;" however, actually we can learn and receive from those we serve. We need to always be open to "receiving" from them -- whether it's their hospitality, prayers, learning from their faith, or whatever! They are part of Christ's Body also, and something that I myself forget sometimes, is that He has gifted them to help build up the Body, just as He has gifted us!
My husband, Richard, and I recently received a call asking us to be on "The Cup" team. "The Cup" is our church's ministry to homeless people. We provide a weekly church service for homeless people, as well as counseling and a monthly medical clinic. For those of you who are like me -- who like practical ideas about putting verses into practice, here are some excerpts from that May/June 1996 issue of "Discipleship Journal:" "Some urban churches provide after-school programs for latchkey kids. Such programs need tutors, people to prepare snacks for the kids, etc."
"Every time you buy a new item of clothing, give a piece of used clothing that's still in good shape to a homeless shelter."
"When you go food shopping, take advantage of two-for-one deals, then drop off bags of groceries to a family you know is suffering financially." My note: Or drop off non-perishables to the Salvation Army.
"Adopt an elderly shut-in with limited income and become her hands and feet. Offer to do her grocery shopping once a week. Drive her to doctor appointments. Assist with housecleaning - either with your own elbow-grease or by hiring a service."
Dear Lord, thank You for opportunities to help those who are needy. Please help us to do this humbly, and to receive gratefully their gifts in return. May You be glorified, and Your purposes fulfilled, in all our ministry to the poor. In Jesus' name amen.
Janice P. Moser
All scripture references are from the NASB unless otherwise noted.