Friday, September 27, 2013

Poverty ~ An Opportunity to Serve

"Poverty is not necessarily an issue to solve; it is an opportunity to serve. As we go through each day, our heart's cry should be, Lord, where would you have me give, serve, and invest myself to bring hope to the poor?" - Johnny Carr

I love to write. I don't mean that I love to string words together to create sentences and paragraphs. I mean that I love to sit down with a pen and paper and write words by hand. It's probably one of the reasons I have decent handwriting. Well...that and a pretty strict 4th grade teacher.

Earlier this week Compassion gave us bloggers this quote to reflect on. Our assignment was to reflect and then blog our thoughts.

It's taken me four days and quite a bit writing. I've filled several pages just writing this quote out - over and over. For some reason writing things out helps me meditate and internalize things. I like to emphasize different aspects of what I'm writing by using capital letters, highlighters, even the form of the passage.

There are several things that stick out to me in this quote.

First...poverty is not something we have to solve. I can't solve it. You can't solve it. Even working together, we can't solve it.

Second...within the situation and circumstances of poverty, there is an opportunity - an invitation - to serve God. Over and over in Scripture God calls us to serve Him through serving others.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fireprepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” - Matthew 25:31-26 (emphasis mine)

Third...a daily prayer with three parts. How can I give? How can I serve? How can I invest myself or spend myself?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
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 58:6-9 (emphasis mine)

Finally...Hope. We can play a part in bringing hope to those who have none.

Today I leave you with this...

Stop trying to solve poverty. Or maybe the supposed need to solve it is so overwhelming that you've become paralyzed and therefore do nothing. Solving poverty is pointless and doing nothing is pathetic.

Accept and welcome the opportunity to serve.

Pray daily that God would open your eyes to how you can give, serve and invest yourself.

Bring hope to a child. That hope will spill over into the family and community.

Through sponsorship, you can serve God and bring hope to a child. Sponsor a child - you won't regret it. At the very least, click on that link and pray for the children who appear....the children waiting for someone like you to grab this opportunity and give, serve and invest yourself on their behalf.

Love your neighbor as yourself.
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