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?”
Thanks for reading, please comment below.
In many ways the message of Jesus is radical and
counter-cultural. One of the central tenets of Christianity is selfless, indeed
self-sacrificial love. In contemporary western culture (and maybe in most of
the world), there is an emphasis on individual achievement, notoriety/fame,
material wealth, etc. Movies, TV shows, many books, magazines and much of what
we consume on social media, is rife with the glorification of personal accomplishment
and how a person’s identity can be found in achievement and the admiration of
There is nothing wrong with goals, personal achievement
or even material wealth, but Christ teaches that the love and sole pursuit of
such things is upside down (see 1 Timothy 6:10, Matthew 19:24 et al) and instead
that we are to put others’ needs ahead of our own – this starts with
considering the other person. It is at this time of year when we are reminded
of the ultimate act of self-sacrificial love as Christ gave his life in the
most painful way possible solely out of love for us – so that our sins would be
forgiven and we would be granted eternal life.
Certainly Christians, but I think even the secular
world and people of other faiths would be well served to keep this in mind as
we go about our day. Imagine a world where we all consider the other person
first and put their needs ahead of our own, even in small ways – it starts with
each of us. Thanks for reading! Please comment below.
(Full disclosure: I (the author) am guilty of and
struggle daily with all of the below.)
If we counted on a given day of how often we say
something, either to ourselves or out loud, like, “I would never do, think,
say, eat, drink, etc. that! It’s so irresponsible, rude, lazy, mean, stupid
(insert your own adjective here)”, the number might surprise us. Though it’s
difficult to hang too many statements on an absolute, like “always” or “never”,
there might still be some truth to such proclamations; the question is, what
our motivation for making them is. Often times, particularly with Christians though
certainly not exclusively so, we are putting ourselves in the position of judge
over someone else with the goal of elevating ourselves and tearing down the
other party. It feels good to be right, to live right, to eat right, to be
married right, to parent right, but who are we really serving by saying or
thinking such things?
Throughout the Bible, we are commanded to put God first,
anything else is idolatry, the worst and most common form of idolatry is
self-worship. Further, God loves us with perfect, self-sacrificing love; He
puts us first – we are to emulate His love in the world by putting others ahead
of ourselves both in our thoughts and our deeds.
Thanks for reading! Please comment below.
In one of Jesus’ most paradoxical parables (Mat.
20:1-16), he tells of a vineyard owner who hired laborers early one morning to
work for the day at a wage that both parties agreed was fair. As the day wore
on, the owner went out to get more workers at different times and agreed to pay
the “whatever is right”. At the end of the day, the owner paid his workers in
order of who arrived latest; all of the workers, regardless of how long they
worked, were paid the amount the owner agreed to pay the workers who came
first. At this, those who arrived first complained that they were not being
treated fairly to which the owner responded that he paid them what they agreed
upon and that he was free to be generous to the others as he saw fit. There is
a lot packed into this parable that deserves to be discussed, but in the
interest of brevity, I will discuss the aspect that most applies to the mission
At first blush, it seems that the early workers have a
valid complaint. However, one of Jesus’ points is that God delivers on His
promises and for that we should be grateful and further, all of humanity can
receive His blessing, even if, to the world (to us), some seem more deserving
than others. This is a little tough to swallow in today’s merit-based society,
but we must remember that it’s not our job to question how God blesses others,
only to be grateful for how He has blessed us and to serve out of such
gratitude. Thanks for reading, please comment below.
Throughout the Bible, we are commanded to love our
neighbor as ourselves. Jesus defines this for us in the parable of The Good
Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). In response to a challenge from a lawyer, Jesus
relates the well-known story of the Jewish man that was beaten by thieves on
the road and left for dead only to be passed by twice by other Jews who were
unwilling to help him. Finally a Samaritan, a group of people despised by Jews
at the time (and vice versa), stopped and dressed the man’s wounds, put him on
his donkey and brought him to the nearest inn where he paid for his care, food
and lodging and told the innkeeper if more expenses were incurred in his care,
he would pay those too.
Jesus’ message here is that our neighbors are all of
humanity, including our enemies. We are to help those in need, regardless of
how they may have gotten to such a state and even if we disagree with their
lifestyle choices, etc. We give out of obedience and gratitude, because much
has been given to us – without our deserving it. Go and serve God by serving
someone else today! Thanks for reading, please comment below.
*Luke 10:29, NASB
Broken But Not Forgotten Ministries, Inc.
A Christian Non-Profit Organization Serving the Needy
We give of ourselves out of gratitude for what has been given to us.
Any Christian charitable endeavour must be undertaken by first remembering who we are in Christ. We are children of the One and Only God, Creator of the Universe. We are so because of what He did for us without our deserving it. He came to this fallen world to live among us as a human being and emptied Himself for us, taking on the punishment that we deserved and dying so that our sins could be forgiven and we could be declared righteous in His eyes; doing good does not make us more Holy to God – He declared us righteous, forgave our sins and gave us eternal life simply because He wished to – because of His love for us.
God also gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit who guides and transforms us. God did not question why we as individuals are broken or why we sin. He only acted out of our need for a savior; it is by faith that we are saved – while we are sinners. So in turn, out of gratitude for what God has given us, we are energized to give to others, to show the world what God’s love looks like and to fulfill God’s command to help those less fortunate than us.
Thanks for reading; please leave a comment!