Words from the Heart for Wednesday October 18, 2017
Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.
Proverbs 14:31 (NLT)
Helping the Poor
In the Gospels Jesus said that when we minister to the needy we really are doing it unto Him. We can be very selfish, uncaring, and actually pass by the “poor.” We don’t feel any obligation to offer help. Yet, when we treat the “poor” this way we really are insulting the One Who made us! We would never dare do that to His face. Look for a way today to help someone in need. When you do, you will actually be honouring the Lord.
Poverty is expensive. It doesn’t just cost the poor their dignity and a reasonable standard of living. A study for the Ontario Association of Food Banks found that poverty costs the government about $30 billion a year, much of which is health care expenditures because being poor frequently means poor health. As well, numerous studies have found that it costs three to four times more to leave someone on the street (in and out of shelters, hospitals, jails) than to give them a home with support services.
Some time back I was convicted by a sign outside a church that said, “You say you care for the poor. Name one.” I was glad for the conviction because it reminded me of the many times the Bible speaks about God’s call to His people to care for the poor. King Solomon said this in Proverbs 18:31: “Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.” As bad as it is to ignore the poor, to not care a bit for their needs, it is far worse to oppress them. I wish I could say that things have improved since Solomon’s day, but perhaps more than ever before, because of the availability of news, we are made aware of how often the poor are oppressed, abused and forced into horrific situations. Those who mistreat the poor will face the judgment of God’s righteous love for those who have so little to begin with. Followers of Christ are called to something altogether different. When we help the poor, Solomon says, we honour the Lord. What a clarion call to all who love and follow Jesus Christ.
These have been words from the heart.