Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- December 10, 2010
“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16:49
The poor and needy abound and poverty can be their gateway to God. It is a chronic ministry opportunity on behalf of Jesus Christ. Whether it is down the street or across eight time zones, the poor and needy are in need of food, jobs and spiritual nourishment. Our own abundance can inoculate us from the hunger of others—we thus forget the poor.
We enjoy so much delicious food that it is not uncommon for leftovers to be thrown in the trash—which might be a feast for the poor and needy. Food is a daily necessity that needs to remind us to thank God and to feed the hungry. The blessing over meals is an expression of gratitude to God for His provision. Perhaps our mealtime prayer—as we enjoy life and the Lord—can also include a prayer for those who are starving to death, without Jesus.
We should ask the Lord to use us to become agents on behalf of the poor and needy. This may mean sponsoring a child overseas or it may mean working in a soup kitchen for the homeless. It could be as simple as an anonymous delivery of groceries to a struggling family. A little bit of love, in action, goes a long way with the Lord’s favor.
James, the half brother of Jesus, said it well, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27). A compelling distinctive of the early church was their love and compassion toward the poor and the needy.
The church of Jesus Christ must be a lighthouse, a refuge and a rescuer for the displaced and disenfranchised. As you take care of the hungry and homeless in your community you may also be led by God to help the poor and needy internationally. Use your medical skills, your home building experience or your homemaker expertise to serve for Jesus.
With a fraction of the money needed in the United States and business training on your part, hundreds of economic enterprises could be birthed within the ranks of the poor and needy. Perhaps you place a Bible verse on the dash of your car to remind you to pray for the poor. Give generously your time and money. As everyone does a little, a tsunami of relief will flood the poor and needy with life’s necessities. Then some will embrace, by faith, the Jesus you are personifying by your good works. The gospel lived will lead to the gospel believed!
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Am I intentional in my prayers and gifts for the poor? Who in need can I serve today?
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