Considering the Poor
Posted: Saturday, February 25
Verse of the day:
Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The LORD rescues them when they are in trouble. (Psalm 41:1 NLT)
One of the most challenging situations for me is knowing how to respond when I’m approached on the street for money. Can you relate? You are presented with an urgent, dire dilemma which requires you to quickly respond by giving money, giving food, or politely saying ‘no’. And no matter how you respond it always feels inadequate.
I was recently talking with a friend who works for a Christian organization that focuses on serving the poor. He told me that many days it’s confusing knowing how to respond to the needs that are presented, and often he leaves at the end of the day not with a sense of satisfaction but of exhaustion. This friend’s insights, whom I consider a saint, made me feel a bit better.
Psalm 41:1 says ‘Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!’ While it is often confusing how best to help the poor one thing is clear in scripture: we should be kind to the poor. As Christians we don’t believe in Karma but the Bible does teach that what goes around comes around; it’s the principle of sowing and reaping. The psalmist goes on to describe the help that comes to those who aid the poor:
In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him;
2 the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
3 The Lord sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness you restore him to full health
Some of us think the best way to help the poor is by handing out free meals and offering medical help. Others believe that handouts kill the drive to work and succeed, so perhaps they support job training programs and affordable daycare so parents can work. No argument can be made from scripture for wanting to keep poor people poor, so find some way you can be kind to the poor that aligns with your convictions.