One of the prominent issues in the New Testament is the plight of the ‘poor’. In fact it was a large part of what Jesus talked about. There’s no biblical reference for the government, local, state or federal, taking care of the poor. But there’s plenty of evidence of the church taking care of them. If you’re serious about doing the works of Jesus, and it’s very biblical that we should, then to miss helping the poor would be a monumental miss in my opinion.
My experience over the last 25+ years is that most everyone believes that the church should help the poor but most would rather give to someone (individual, ministry or organization) doing it….than to do it themselves. That’s noble, I guess, but I don’t believe it’s the best case scenario. I told a friend awhile back who was wanting to go back to his home town to start a kingdom work, that if I were going to do it I’d go there and find out who the poor were, and where they congregate. Then I’d figure out how to help them. Sadly, there’s no competition for the poor. For the most part no one (church or individual) is contending for them. And I told him, “If you’ll do that, the favor of God will be on everything else you do.” I believe that’s true! He has a tremendous affection toward the poor!
So, it’s obvious that the poor in America need the church. But I think the church needs the poor much more than the poor need the church, here;s why: When someone comes to you for help…..and to help would require your time, resources or money, it’s an immediate (and always accurate!) indicator of ‘where your heart is’! It’s like one of those, “You Are Here”, signs in the mall. *(those things never did me much good. I need one to tell me where my wife is! lol) It’s a ‘good thing’ to have our hearts revealed to us. When we find that our heart isn’t mirroring the heart of Jesus we can, and should, quickly adjust.
The next time you encounter someone in dire need, do a little ‘heart inventory’. You, they……..and Jesus will be glad you did!