The Bible tells us the poor will always be among us. Although we encourage you to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, visit those in prison and those who are sick (Matthew 25:31-46), we also encourage you to not follow the standard threshold of poverty. Poverty that is most easily identified is generally of a physical nature…things like clothing, shelter, food, and roof over one’s head. Poverty is much more complex than these survival needs. Poverty can also be emotional and spiritual.
Imagine if you were unable to go anywhere because you were sick. I mean you don’t leave your house. And no one comes to visit you. Your family either doesn’t live close or you are estranged from them. Every day you get up, take medicine, try to cook, and eat to nourish yourself. You hobble to the bathroom and back to bed to rest. Night falls and contact with another human has been a week, the last time your nurse came to check on you. You are lonely and wonder why you wake up every morning just to repeat surviving through another day. You have money but cannot get to the grocery store. You worry about how you are going to get food. Your dogs keep you company, but they too are a chore you can barely keep up with as your strength wanes. You look forward to the home visit that happens once a week, but only wish it would not end. However, it only lasts 30 minutes. You just wished someone could see you, hear you, and understand. But no one seems to care.
One day two people show up at your house and ask how they can help. They listen to you, find out what you need, and then put love into action by meeting your need to get groceries. But what you enjoy most is the time they spend with you before and after shopping. They pray with you. And as they leave, you have experienced the hands and feet of Jesus in a practical way.
Our goal is to love others through service so that we might see Jesus at work in the hearts of people. When we are personally available to serve others selflessly and be involved openly with our neighbors, we are allowing God, by His Spirit, to work in and through us to touch the lives of others. You may not be able to understand how others live the way that they do, but one thing all of us can understand is that love changes hearts. The Bible says that God is near to the broken-hearted. Don’t you want to be where God is? We challenge you to seek out the broken-hearted that you may comfort them with the same comfort you have received (2 Cor. 1:4).