October 11, 2015
Feeding the poor is something that has been on God’s heart since the beginning of Israel. When God delivered the descendents of Abraham from slavery in Egypt, He gave them laws upon which to build their nation. Among those laws were provisions for the poor to collect food from the fields alongside those who owned and worked the fields. (Remember the story of the book of Ruth?) As the nation matured, giving financial help to the poor and disabled was an important part of their life of faith.
Among the first generation of Christian believers, remembering the poor was an important part of living out their trust in Jesus (see Galatians 2:10). In fact, Paul’s final missionary journey among the churches he helped to establish was in part to collect an offering for the believers in Jerusalem who were poor (see Acts 24:17). This journey to bring money to the poor ended up in Paul’s arrest and eventual trip as a prisoner to Rome. Helping those who are poor has been important in God’s economy from the very beginning.
There could be lots of other biblical references that underline this principle, but if we assume its truth, there is still a vexing question. How do we do it?
At first glance, it might seem that we just hand over some of our money (or food or other resources) to those who do not have enough. Is not that what Paul did, took up an offering and then delivered it to the people in Jerusalem who needed it? I am not so sure.
While it might seem to be a nice gesture, just handing someone some extra money is not as helpful as it might look like. Like many things in life, really helping people is not so simple. Even God’s gracious forgiveness is not just handed out, it was purchased by Jesus on the cross. Forgiveness was costly. Its cost helps us to understand its great value. We do not take our forgiveness for granted when we think of the cost.
In fact, if we look a bit deeper, we see that even Paul’s collection for the poor in Jerusalem was not just handed out, it was delivered to the church leaders. Paul put the gifts from Christians all across Asia, Macedonia, and Achaia into the hands of church leaders. They were the ones who knew best how to use it to help the poor.
We can do that too. Our Global Hunger Relief funds will be used by missionaries and other church leaders all around the world to help the poor. While I am not wise enough to go to Southeast Asia or Africa and distribute financial help to relieve hunger, we have missionaries and churches who can. They are on the scene. They know what to do. They see the need first hand. This money goes 100% into the hands of church leaders who are in place to serve. It is our chance to equip them to meet those needs.
Global Hunger Relief is important. Let’s do it!