As Christians, we know there are plenty of things the Bible says we should do to demonstrate our love for God. Many of us make an effort to spend time reading the Bible and praying. But some of the Bible’s instructions may seem a bit harder to apply. This can be especially the case when it comes to caring for the poor.
It’s easy and unfortunately common to brush past verses about caring for the less fortunate, or to assume that there’s nothing we can do. However, the Bible very clearly illustrates God’s regard for the poor and instructs us to reach out to them like He did through Jesus. Let’s take a closer look at what Christians are instructed to do to help the poor.
Biblical Instructions on Caring for the Poor
The Bible is full of verses about God’s regard for the poor and instructions for us to show them compassion. A few of these verses even provide practical examples. For instance, Old Testament passages like Leviticus 19:9-10 tell us not to “glean”, meaning not to try to squeeze every possible drop of productivity or profit from everything we do. Farmers are instructed to leave some wheat behind during the harvest and, more importantly, not to go over the field with a fine-toothed comb to find every remaining grain. The wheat left behind is meant to be gathered by anyone who can’t afford to buy their own food or support their families. While the poor are still expected to gather the grain themselves, the more fortunate farmers are not to deprive them.
Since most of us aren’t farmers, this passage may not apply to us in a literal sense. However, the underlying lesson remains the same. We are to share the surplus of our blessings with those in desperate need. How exactly we choose to do so depends on our circumstances and what we have to offer, but the fact remains that we are instructed to do it.
Showing Compassion to the Least of These
Multiple Bible passages show that God takes caring for the poor very seriously. In fact, in the famous parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus divides the crowd based almost entirely on how they treated the poor and needy. When you remember that Jesus Himself was likely homeless during most of His ministry, it makes sense why He would equate Himself with the mistreated poor. He spent time living like they did!
A recent story from Ohio shows how easy it is to forget this. A local resident spotted a homeless man sleeping on a bench outside a church and called 911. When the police arrived, they discovered the sleeping man was actually a statue called “Homeless Jesus”, temporarily displayed in front of the church. The statue was meant to remind us that Jesus identified with the homeless and outcasts of His day and would do the same if He was here now. But instead of doing the same, it’s all too easy to just call 911 on a homeless person to get them to move along.
How to Help Safely During the Pandemic
During a worldwide pandemic, it makes sense to try to protect yourself from getting sick. However, don’t forget that the homeless or those without access to proper protection are still in danger. And as one organization discovered, there’s no shortage of need. It’s possible to care for the needy without increasing your own risk of getting sick, though it may require some creativity.
Depending on resources and organizations in your area, you’ll likely find a variety of ways to safely help the less fortunate during the COVID-19 pandemic. A few examples include:
- Donating to worthy causes or organizations
- Donating to individuals and families in need
- Volunteer work (some places may offer virtual volunteer positions)
- Donating blood
- Staying connected with and running errands for high-risk people
- Support local essential workers through meal donations or other gestures of thanks
- Raise awareness of needs
Showing Christ’s Love to All
The majority of us are very blessed even if we don’t realize it. The least we can do is share some of our blessings with others and show them the love of God. That is truly the way to build up treasure in heaven.
Contact us to learn more about volunteering and ministry opportunities available to you.