I live in Canada where we have an unbelievable amount of freedom and riches. I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’m going to eat today. I’m not concerned about my personal freedom to worship God how I see fit. I generally don’t fear for the safety of my children. I don’t worry about a severe drought wiping me out financially and leading my family and I into slavery. I don’t have these concerns but many people in the world do. Today I’m asking myself the question, “What am I doing about the poor?” 

Not my responsibility…

It is easy to become overwhelmed if we stop and think too long about the plight of the poor in this world. There is so much suffering in this world. So many millions who are starving. Billions who live on $2 a day or less. What can one person do in such a vast sea of hopelessness and pain? That’s why far too many of us dismiss these thoughts by saying, ‘It’s not my responsibility… It’s someone else’s problem.’

We comfort ourselves with thoughts like, ‘The poor are lazy. If they’d just decide to work harder they’d have what I have.’ Think about this thought though. You didn’t get to choose which family to be born into. If you were born in a first world nation make sure to thank God for it. You had nothing to do with it. You could have easily been born to a poor family in the third world… Even if you were born to a poor family in the third world but now you are living in a first world nation with lots of money and comforts you still have a responsibility towards the poor around you.

What would Jesus do?

Jesus had it all in heaven. Power, honor, prestige, comfort, happiness and perfection and yet he left it all to save you and I. He chose to be poor. He chose to help the poor and the rejected. He loved the ugly leper. He encouraged the hopeless prostitute. He helped the helpless poor. What do you think he wants us to do? Ignore them? Take a look at Matthew 25:31-46

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.

“Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then they also will answer, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you? Then he will answer them, saying, Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

When Jesus lives in our hearts we will naturally take up the cause of the defenseless and voiceless. We will be compelled to help the poor, the sick and the marginalized. We will look to be a blessing to others and the world will be a better place for it.

Is Jesus living in your heart? Won’t you make the decision to let him in your heart?