Jesus said, “the poor you always have with you…” (John 12:8). He was correct. In his day the poor were seen begging for bread among the streets and highways. Jesus loved these people deeply and seemed to have a special place in his heart for them. The poor were often drawn to Jesus because he accepted them and did not treat them like they were poor.
More recently we know of the so-called “untouchables” of India who populate the poorest sections of Indian cities and towns. Poverty stricken children are often seen in Africa where their families do not have enough to keep from starving. In our country today, the poor are seen in every community and every city. Once called hobos or bums these people are now the homeless who wander from place to place seeking shelter and sustenance. Jesus was exactly correct when he said the poor were always with us.
We know that some people are poor because of poor choices they made but not everyone and surely not their children. Would Jesus turn children away because their parents were irresponsible? Certainly not! While Christians must not enable bad choices and conduct we cannot ignore the genuine needs in our community.
Having established that there are poor among us we should ask whether we have any responsibility toward them. The answer is yes!
There is the general principle of doing good. Christians are expected to be people of good works. “To him that knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:7). “But love your enemies and do good…” (Luke 6:35). But the Bible is more specific. To the wealthy Paul commands that “They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share…” (1 Timothy 6:18 – emphasis mine, jbe). Paul was more concise in Romans 12:13 when he says we are to “contribute to the needs of the saints.” The writer of Hebrews says simply:
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have…” (Hebrews 13:16). John is equally direct when he writes: “But ?if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet ?closes his heart against him, ?how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not ?love in word or talk but in deed and ?in truth” (1 John 3:17-18).
Eastern Shore is especially involved with helping those in need. Your offerings make it possible for the church to meet those needs both within our own number and within the community. From time to time we act globally sending funds to distant places, under careful supervision, to assist in time of disaster and trouble. Our Hungry Horace work is just one aspect of our attempt to aid those who are hurting.
There are three key ways for you to be involved. First, give generously to the Lord upon every first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:1-4). This allows our elders to direct the congregation’s resources to those in need. Second, support Hungry Horace. 50 families will be fed at Thanksgiving and at Christmas through your efforts. This is a bit of a stretch but we can reach this goal and bring a bit of light into someone’s home. Third, be involved in personal benevolence. Don’t wait for the church to do it but act quickly yourself to help those around you.
Remember, your actions reflect the love of Christ which dwells in you. Let them see Him in you!