Archive for the ‘Helping the Poor’ Category
“If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.” Proverbs 21:13
This is a really hard Bible verse about helping the poor. It actually says that God answering my prayers is contigent upon how I treat the poor. That’s a pretty difficult message to hear, especially in a day and age where there are so many poor people in the world. You can’t even turn on the news without seeing all of the suffering and hardship in the world. So much of the time it’s so easy to just turn a blind eye, and not really try and find a way to help.
So how do I know if I’m shutting my ears to the cry of the poor? It’s not like I can really do anything to help all of the poor people in the world. And how do I know that if I donate money to charities, the money will actually go to helping the poor. Charities many charities have been shown to be corrupt and send very little money to the people who need it. That’s why it’s nice to rely on the Lord for guidance. One very easy way to help the poor is to tithe. Giving money to your church is a great way of seeing that the poor around the world are helped. Helping the poor is a huge responsibility, one that no single individual can handle on their own. But that’s why we’re stronger together.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter?” Isaiah 58:6-7
This has always been a really inspirational Bible verse about helping the poor to me. It was written to a group of people who thought that they were righteous because of their religious activities, things like memorizing scripture, fasting, and attending church. In my own life, I’ve often measured my righteousness by how many “religious” activities I do. But that’s just backward. It doesn’t matter how much I go to church or read my Bible. If it’s not causing me to become a better man, the kind of man who looks after the poor and the oppressed, then it doesn’t matter anyway.
God is more happy when I help the poor and the oppressed than when I do my religious duties like praying and going to church. Though these things are important too, without compassion for the poor and oppressed, spending time reading the Bible and praying doesn’t really have a point. If my relationship with God hasn’t changed my heart so that I have compassion on the poor and oppressed, then I’m obviously missing something. It’s like Jesus said to the Pharisees, how they give a tenth of their money and spices to God, but they have neglected the more important matters, things like justice and faithfulness.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9
These two Bible verses about helping the poor were written by the mother of a king. She wrote these commands to her son, to help be a better king. Not all of us are in a position to help the poor like a king is. But these verses are a very good model for us today. Most of us in the modern world are rich by human standards, not quite kings, but much better off than most. If we don’t do anything to speak up for the poor and needy, then who will? Some of us however, are those who are in distress and could use a helping hand. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that there were people out there fighting for us and our good? That’s what God intends.
In the modern world, the status quo of modern industry and corporations is to exploit the poor. Those who have much, often enough get their wealth at the expense of those who have little. Though we don’t have very many kings in the modern world, we do have many people in positions of authority. God places many of us in positions of authority, not so much because He wants us to hoard wealth and gain riches, but so that we can help the people less fortunate beneath us.
“Religion that God our father counts as pure and faultless is this, to look after widows and orphans in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
This is a pretty amazing Bible verse. It breaks everything down into simple terms. If all you do is help the poor and keep yourself from being polluted by the world, then you’re doing everything that God requires of you. Seems simple enough. But how many of us actually live like this? How often do we think about the poor? How often do we try and rid ourselves of all the entanglements of the world — material possessions, worldly pleasures, and things that won’t ever really bring us happiness. Most of us live for our own happiness, trapped in the mire of the world, not much considering the poor or striving for much more than upward mobility.
I find the simplicity of this Bible verse pretty inspirational. There’s so many things I don’t do well. I’m not very bold, I lack peace and humility, and I don’t do a very good job of standing up for the right thing. When I think about all of the things I lack, it discourages me and I know that I’m still a long way away from being the man I ought to be. But that’s why I love this verse in James. I think I could do a better job helping the poor, and I think I could do a better job keeping myself from being polluted by the world. If that’s all I do, I’m well on my way.