There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.
Deuteronomy 15:11 (NIV)
On a work trip to South Asia, I met with some rural clients of a Christian microfinance institution. They were villagers who lived below the poverty line and could barely afford food on the table, let alone send their children to school. I will always remember the sparkle in their eyes when they met with Christians who cared about them and who were committed to helping them break the cycle of poverty. The Lord opened my eyes to their yearning for hope and healing, and I saw how willing they were to be prayed for, even when they were not Christians. In a closed context where Christians can be met with hostility and laws exist to make conversion illegal, increasing the villagers’ openness to the Christian faith by praying with them is a major step towards their spiritual journey to encounter God.
Through acts of kindness and generosity modelled after the character of Christ, the poor and marginalized can experience hope and love like they never did before. The Lord places us in positions where we can be His hands and feet, and bring hope to the poor through various ways. Most importantly, we need to explain the “why” behind what we do as we serve the poor and point them to our loving Father who gives eternal life beyond this broken world. Let us pray that more Christians will step up to serve the poor, empower them economically and enable them to experience the love of Jesus!
This is the fourth in the “End Extreme Material Poverty” series of blog posts on our Journey to Palpable Kingdom Presence. It is submitted by our PEER Servants Team India volunteer, Corinne Han Danforth.