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It’s God’s Command

04/30/2012

Are You Aware of the Poor and the Needy?

I would hazard a guess that most of us are aware of the poor, but there is a distinct difference in what we do with that awareness.  For a great many people thinking of the poor and needy means finding programs to help feed them, clothe them, and even house them.  For this group of people, it is the government who has the responsibility for taking care of the unfortunate.

There is another group, a diminishing group, of people who become aware of people in need and begin immediately to find a way to help.   These people will ask for donations, conduct fundraisers, and even work side jobs to help someone else in need.  These people look at those around them as fellow human beings with no regard to their status, their ethnicity, their color, or even their sexual orientation.   Rather, they see someone in need and start finding a way to meet that need.  Organizations have formed from such groups of people, such as Habitat for Humanity, Prison Fellowship, Mercy Ships, and the Salvation Army.  Those are just a few that come to mind at this moment.  However, there are many thousands of organizations, large and small, that started with a person seeing people in need and taking action.

The difference between the attitudes of these two groups can be summarized simply.   The first group sees a need and then looks to the government to meet the need.  The second group sees a need and begins to take action themselves.  Both groups are aware of the less fortunate, but one handles the situation is a “hands off” manner, while the other rolls up their sleeves and gets busy.

When I think about this, I think of the Sheep and Goats narrative in the Bible, Chapter Matthew 25; 31-46 NIV.

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

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.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The sheep just went about helping people.  Some helped many, some just a few.  The numbers did not matter. What mattered to Jesus was they cared and helped.  The goats, in stark contrast, did not help the people in need, but seemed perplexed when Jesus pointed that out to them.  Jesus said to group he had separated and placed on his left, “for I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me” Mt 25:42-42.   Since Jesus tells us to love one another, it seems to me that Jesus was not fed, clothed, and sustained by the group of people classified a goats because there was no personal contact, no real effort, no real human compassion.  In actuality, they were aware of the needy but left their care up to someone else.   I am afraid that those who are content to let the government take care of the needy are almost unnoticeably slipping into the goat pen.

Just sharing my thoughts.

2 Comments
  1. moriahsmusings permalink

    Thanks, I enjoyed the post. We will keep on spreading the word. God bless.

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  1. Never Give Up Your Just Cause « L.E.G.A.C.Y.

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