The Bible references the poor about 2,000 times1, most often in the form of God’s command for us to help them. Indeed, Jesus said in the synagogue upon the inauguration of his earthly ministry that he has been anointed by God to proclaim the good news to the poor (Luke 4:18). I would say this is a pretty strong mandate. We could argue what constitutes “help”, but the point is that all of us are so commanded, which means we should all have this mandate at the top of our list of priorities as we go about our day.
I have heard some refer to the non-biblical quote that “God helps those who help themselves”2, to argue against compliance to this command, but I would counter that Christ came specifically for the helpless (see Romans 5:6, Proverbs 31:8-9, et al), and we, according to C.S. Lewis, are to be “little Christs”.
Whether it be volunteering or donating at a soup kitchen, food pantry or to assist in vocational or life skills training, there are certainly plenty of opportunities to serve – and don’t underestimate the power of offering encouragement. Try asking yourself daily, “How can I help someone less fortunate than me today?”
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