Kato Mivule | January 18, 2012
There is no doubt that those most affected by the current global economic malaise are the poor. As we embark on this new year, it would be worthwhile that we think of ways, and make it our Christian ministry priority, to not only help the poor but assist those in need to stand on their own feet and self-sustaining.
This is not a call for big government spending and programs but rather at the personal and individual level, to respond to the Christian call to minister to those in need. While big government programs might be temporarily helpful in such times, they come with lots of strings attached and are often embroiled in political controversy.
Secondly, our trust ought not to be on big government spending that is bound to run out of resources and fail but on Jesus Christ, who NEVER fails. Therefore it should be the priority of every follower of Jesus Christ to reach out to those in need as a matter of gratitude towards God who supplies our daily needs. In as much as we share with others who are in need, we express gratitude to God who faithfully gives to us.
As Christians, this should be a call that we should respond to with gratitude rather than disdain. Let us not forget that we are stewards of God’s resources entrusted to us, not for our own self-glorification and indulgence but to reach out to others in need in the Name of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 4:10: As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
It will do us good to note that many of those in need are fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The poor are no doubt becoming the ‘least of the brethren among us’, and responding to their needs is at the heart of Jesus Christ and His message.
Matthew 24:40: “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Christ’s ministry reaches out not just to fellow Christians but to those who are in need but are not Christian; and indeed this is one of the ways to make Jesus Christ known, not just by our words that we preach but by our actions.
This does not mean that The Lord does not care about other ministries such as preaching, evangelism, discernment, etc. All those are important but reaching out and taking care of the needs of others with gratitude is one way that shows that you are practicing what you preach.
Yet still, every Christian at every level of income can reach out to others in need and help. You don’t have to be a millionaire to help but with the little that you have, you can make a difference. Most importantly, we can be a voice for the voiceless and those who cannot speak for themselves.
In this current political climate (especially in the USA), the poor are always used by the elites as some kind of political football. The poor are called “lazy”,” envious”, “jealousy”, among other demeaning names. If one wants to run as a successful politician today in the US, all they have to do, it seems, is to just demean the poor, insult, and disparage them.
Proverbs 22:22: Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court,
Deuteronomy 15:11: "For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'
However, this ought not to be the case for those who are followers of Jesus Christ. If anything, The Lord takes the issue of the poor and needy very seriously and this can be seen thought out both the Old and New Testament.
Therefore, let us make this a priority in this new year to be a voice for those without a voice and reach out to those in need in the Name of Jesus Christ, with grace, wisdom, and love, not with arrogance and contempt for those who we seek to serve. It is befitting to remind ourselves that we have been saved by grace and not works. We are all sinners and none can boast.
It is important to note that many people in poverty and need are not lazy, jealous, or envious as some puffed-up politicians would like us to believe. Contrary to such caricatures, many poor people are hard working, some working 2 to 3 jobs just to pay rent, only to fall behind on bills. Therefore, let us see people the way Jesus Christ sees them.
Many Christians often ask how they can minister or get involved in ministry. Yet the current global economic crisis presents us an opportunity to act and reach out in the Name of Jesus Christ and proclaim His Gospel not only through words but with actions. The world is watching to see if Christians respond to the message of Jesus Christ, to the example of the “Good Samaritan”.
Lastly, exercise this gift of gratitude with wisdom and discernment; rather than send money and gifts to wealthy and luxurious prosperity gospel preachers, it would be noble to consider your unemployed neighbor who cannot find gas money to get to the next job interview.
Reach out and let Christ’s light shine though you. Have a blessed and productive new year.