Embarrassingly enough until a few months ago I didn’t really know anyone who was poor. I couldn’t give you a single name of someone who was on food stamps and I used to think it was all their fault somehow anyway.
When we had extra stuff I would donate to any organization that would conveniently take it off my hands. This is not wrong…but I knew something was missing. Jesus doesn’t just suggest caring for the poor if we are rich or have tons of free time, He commands it (over 100 times actually).
Writing a check or dumping a bunch of stuff off is still very good, but seeing a face, knowing a story, sharing a burden, and getting involved in a life…is a TOTAL GAME CHANGER.
Our family has had the pleasure of getting involved in our local homeless ministry. It started out just by cleaning and organizing but it has grown to more be a blessing more than I could ever imagine.
My eyes have been opened to SOOOO stinking much. There are people living in poverty all around us no matter where you live. We picture homeless as people living in a box on the street but in reality many are living wherever they can find a roof for the night.
The thing is..when you are poor the roof you probably find is a home filled with drugs, violence or both. How do you get a job if you don’t have a place to shower, or nice clothes to wear, or even a computer? How do you get a good enough job if you don’t have an education? How do you get kids to daycare if you don’t have a car? How do afford day care if you don’t have a job? The mountain is just too high to climb.
If you are poor you don’t know anyone with anything EXTRA to help you out and you certainly don’t know anyone with any means to help you get a better life for yourself.
And that is where it occurred to me there is a problem.
I went to church one Sunday morning and couldn’t help notice all the expensive cars in the parking lot and fancy way people were dressed (including me) and I felt a serious weight on my chest. I had never noticed it before until I knew a mom with two kids who didn’t know where they would sleep that night.
Making over $30,000 a year puts me in the top 18% of the worlds wealthiest people. Not only am I rich with money but I am FILTHY rich with resources. I know business owners that can offer jobs, I know people who have extra cars, we have an extra room, I can help provide transportation, childcare, and even wash a load of clothes!
I feel like my eyes have been opened to a whole new world of people I (embarrassingly enough) never even noticed before. I was missing so much! Yes there are people out there that just want hand outs but that is just a stereo-type. There are LOTS of people who just need to know someone who can help.
I have no idea why I was born into such a wonderful family and have always had everything I need and why some are born into poverty but I understand now why Jesus said:
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48
My encouragement to you is to get involved with a local ministry and truly get to know someone that the world considers “poor.”
“Am I afraid?? I am much more afraid of being comfortable”-Katie Davis
Yes it is uncomfortable at first…yes I was worried for my safety at first But I have yet to meet someone I would consider dangerous. I have only met beautiful people who just need a little help.
How to get involved: Almost every city large or small has some type of ministry to the poor and or homeless. The hardest part is calling to see how you can help. Practical needs are taking kids to the park, helping prepare meals, and mostly just getting to know them. Every person has a unique story and every person in need is made in God’s image just as much as you and I. You will be amazed at what God can do when status walls are broken down.
Here is what you can expect to happen: Your needs become so-much-less, your complaints become zero and the part that will change your life forever is when you get to help put the hope back into a hopeless situation.
I’m so excited about your post! Right, Jesus didn’t suggest to help the poor, but a command.
Like you we do not necessarily ‘know’ the poor. Thank you for the reminder that it is easy to find them, and TAKE A PART in helping.
My husband I I used to write a check more often, now we put our hands to help and pray nearly every day to work for others and the poor. It awesome! (we do write checks too…he he).
And I sure to agree with your last paragraph…those who DO, are not the complainers. He who waters, is himself watered! And what a clean, refreshing it is!
Katie @ Imperfect People says:
Thank you so much for your comment Syd! That’s so cool what you and your husband have done.