“And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday.” Isaiah 58:10
I was challenged today to make my journey to compassion practical and hands on by buying one or more chickens for families living in poverty stricken nations. I was taken to a website where I viewed how a family’s life was changed when World Vision gave them some chickens. They were then able to have eggs to eat and to sell. The monies from this “chicken business” enabled them to send their youngest child to school and he was in turn able to teach others in the community to read. So I did it. I bought two chickens today. It felt good to actually get involved and help to poor in a tangible way. (If you would like to buy some chickens or goats or help the poor in other tangible ways here’s the link to World Vision’s on-line gift center. www.worldvision.org/donate, click on “Gift Catalogue.” )
God has His work cut out in cracking open our hearts to fully accept the responsibility we have in regards to the poor. Certainly, He is up to the task! We can help this whole process along quicker if we learn to cooperate with the moving of His Spirit. The apostle Paul said, “Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified.” (2 Thessalonians. 3:1) I do pray that the word of God will flow like a river through our hearts, our churches and our communities. I pray the power of the flow of His truth will wash away long standing and deeply rooted ideas about poverty that were never of the Lord. One person at Cortland Trinity described this well when he said, “God, don’t let me become hardened by all the false needs! Real needs exist!” For too long we have assumed the worst about those who are poor. God help us!
One way to crack open the heart of cynicism is to help. In a very practical and tangible way do something to help the poor. God stands ready with an awesome promise for us as we do so. “And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday” (Isaiah 58:10).
How did we get so far away from the compassionate heart of God? How did we become so cynical of people who are down on their luck? How did we buy into the idea that all poor people are lazy? We have been guilty of the error called over-generalizing. You know, things like, “All used car salesmen are crooks;” or “All TV evangelists are charlatans,” or one of the feminists’ favorites, “All men are pigs.” Are there unethical car salesmen? Are there TV evangelists that are just after your money? Are there men who mistreat women? Are there poor people who are lazy? Yes. But we are wrong when we say, “They’re all that way!”
I challenge you to read through the Bible and pay attention to the 2000 plus verses that speak about mercy and compassion for the poor and justice for the oppressed. (That’s about 6.5% of the Bible.) I’ve done this and I came away saying, “How did I miss this all these years?”
And while you’re at it, go buy a couple of chickens. Cock-a-doodle-do!