"You will always have the poor among you..." [ Jesus ]
Recently I received a text from a 15 year old that I have known for a few years. He lives with his mom and sister and suffers from Juvenile Diabetes. His text informed me that things at home were not going very well and that he needed to get out. The plan was that he would stay at a friend's house for a few days until things settled down at home.
His request was simple. He wanted to know if the church could help him get some groceries. Because of his diabetes he is on a strict diet that consists of six small meals per day. Since he wouldn't have access to food at home he was wondering if we could possibly provide a food voucher that he could pass along to his friend's mom while he was staying there.
About two weeks ago I was at a mid-week church meeting and sensed that I should invite one of the parishioners to join me for a late night trip to the grocery store. I didn't know at the time that he was completely out of food at home. When I asked him if he needed a few things he replied with, "If I could just get some toilet paper that would make me happy." So I bought him some TP plus a few other things that he liked to eat.
Yesterday I dropped in on some friends that have 3 kids and are currently receiving social assistance. They wanted me to come over and take some pics of their 3 month old baby. I knew that they were short on groceries until their check arrived in 3 days and I felt strongly to pick up a few basics on my way to their house.
I asked the church if they could provide a $40 grocery store gift card for my young diabetic friend. Unfortunately they couldn't. And I was broke. At first I was going to ask some friends to help but decided to wait. A few days later I bought a $50 gift card with some money that I received. I really couldn't afford to give that money away but I felt it was the right thing to do.
A simple request and a simple solution.
Compared to the rest of the world these three families are not poor, but their immediate needs were very real. And I know what that is like because I have experienced similar circumstances myself recently.
Last week I was in the States visiting my family. On two occasions I found myself in conversations about the local church and the fact that it seems to be lacking in two areas - meeting the needs of people; and true worship. I visited a few churches while I was down south and it was obvious to me that they were lacking in MANY areas. They are great at "performing" songs and speaking "inspirational" messages, but I'm not too sure that Jesus attends those churches.
Then I got to thinking about the money we spend at our churches - staff salaries, building projects, maintenance costs, heat and electricity - and thought... WOW! Churches spend THOUSANDS of dollars every month on things that don't matter much!
When I searched for the word "poor" in the NIV version of the Bible I received 178 results at Bible Gateway - that's 178 verses that talk about the poor among us, not to mention additional verses on the hungry, orphans, widows, etc.
"...we should continue to remember the poor." [ Galatians 2:10 ]
I know that the poor among us need more than handouts - they need people to teach them how to budget their limited resources; moms to teach them how to care for their children; fathers to teach their sons how to be Godly young men - but they ALSO need handouts from time to time.
Oh to be His Hand extended
Reaching out to the oppressed
Let me touch Him, let me touch Jesus
So that others will know and be blessed