Remembering the Poor
Christmas is a time where money flows like water through the economy of America. Beginning in early November, every merchant out there is trying to get you to buy things to give as gifts for Christmas. I’m not here to judge anyone on that. Ceci and I do our part every year to keep America’s retailers in the black. We love to give gifts to our family, our friends, our staff, and ministry partners. Besides, the Bible does talk about gifts being given by the Magi to the Christ child. That set the precedent.
Well, maybe our culture does go a little overboard with this, but it has become traditionally a time to give gifts of some kind to those we love, and to those we appreciate. It is also a time many think to give to those who are struggling. Let’s talk about that for a minute. We often set aside funds throughout the year to give gifts to our family and friends. What would happen if we planned set aside something to give to the poor? What if we set aside a portion throughout the year to give more significantly to those that have a need in some area? Many like to give toys to children, or items to make holiday meals. Maybe we could give new coats to a family. Maybe we could set aside money to give as a scholarship to a good student who can’t afford college. How about sending a youth to a sports camp next summer? Someone may feel led to help raise funds to help an elderly person on a fixed income with utility or medical bills. There are lots of ideas and these are just a few of them. If we are blessed by God, let us consider giving in a meaningful way to the poor among us this Christmas and every Christmas from here on out. I can feel the Lord smile on that.
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:17-18; ESV)
Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:
Are you aware of those who are struggling with poverty in your community? Intercede for them.
Do you know of any services that reach out to meet the needs of the impoverished or financially struggling in your city or area? They may include food banks, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters. Look and see if there are job training and/or placement services, school meal supplement programs, such as Kids Eat Free, among others. Intercede for those groups.
Pray for your local utility companies’ supplemental programs that help low-income and fixed-income customers keep their heat and lights on.
Does your church have a good benevolence program. If not, consider asking your pastor if you can start one. (Our church once had a $1 fund. Everyone planned to bring $1 a week for the poor. We had a separate offering box for it. It can add up to quite a good sum of money, if all of your regular congregants are participating.)
Consider making a donation to one of the organizations you just prayed for.
Begin now to make your plan to be ready to do more next year to touch those in need.
A prayer you can pray:
Lord, You are a loving God and You truly care about those who are poor. Many times, just because life is hard, people find themselves temporarily or permanently impoverished. I know of the struggles of life and I don’t ever want to get to a place where my heart is hardened against the needs of others. Keep my heart as soft as Yours, Jesus. Help me see as You see the needs. I want to be wise, but generous, and without judgement. Open my eyes to see the need nearby me. Help me know what organizations and programs exist to meet the needs in my community. Hear my prayers and intercession to bring them together. Give me favor with my church leadership or congregants to form programs to help our church better reach the poor in our vicinity. Jesus, You are the Provider. You are the Giver. You grant Life and that abundantly, and I want to be Your hands extended wherever possible. Amen.
We will be those who purposefully plan to care for the poor among us.