Why Should Christians Help The Poor And Vulnerable?

Why Should Christians Help The Poor And Vulnerable?

Deacon Chengji - 25 June 2023

Why Should Christians Help The Poor And Vulnerable?

Powered by Series Engine

Isaiah 58:2

For day after day they seek me out;
    they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
    and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
    and seem eager for God to come near them.

 

Isaiah 58:3-5

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
    and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
    and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
    and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
    only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
    and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
    a day acceptable to the Lord?

 

James 1:27

 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

 

Matthew 23:23

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

 

Why don’t we talk about it more often?

 

Who should we help?

Church and family in need

James 2:15-16
“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?”

 1 Tim 5:3-4

3 Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.

 

All who do not have support and cannot defend themselves.

Isaiah 1:17
“Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”

 Psalm 82:3 
“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.”

 Proverbs 31:8-9

8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

 

Foreigners

Deuteronomy 10:18-19

18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.

 

What is their real problem?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Self

Proverbs 23:21

for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

Proverbs 6:10-11

A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.

 

2. Others / Systems

James 5:4

Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.

 

3. Creation / Circumstances

Poverty is the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meaning.

Bryant Myers

 

God’s approach to protect the poor and vulnerable

Deuteronomy 15: 7-9

7 If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. 8 Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing.

Deuteronomy 15:12-15

12 If any of your people—Hebrew men or women—sell themselves to you and serve you six years, in the seventh year you must let them go free. 13 And when you release them, do not send them away empty-handed. 14 Supply them liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to them as the Lord your God has blessed you. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today.

Leviticus 23:22

22 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.’”

Deuteronomy 26:12

When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.

 

Addressing common objections to helping

Objection 1:

If I do it with not the right spirit, it will not benefit me. I might even make a righteousness of me and become proud.

 

Objection 2: I am not obliged to give because though they are needy, they are not in extreme need. They can live though they suffer some hardships.

 

Objection  3:  I do not have any to spare. I don’t even have enough for myself

 

2 Corinthians 8:1-4

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 

 

Jesus with the Poor and Vulnerable

Jesus knows what it is like to be poor and vulnerable

Jesus identifies with the poor and vulnerable

 

Matthew 25:35

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.’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

 

Proverbs 19:17

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.

 

Jesus’ ministry is never far from the poor and vulnerable

James 2:5

 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

1 Cor 1:27-29

27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 

Acts 4:34-35

 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

 

“When it came about that the poor were neglected and overlooked by the pagan priests, then I think the impious Galilaeans [i.e., Christians] observed this fact and devoted themselves to philanthropy. They support not only their poor but ours as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us.”

– Emperor Julian

 

Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

Deacon Chengji
Deacon Chengji
c.chengji@gmail.com

Deacon Chengji is currently studying at Singapore Bible College. He joined The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) as a ministry staff in 2013. He is married to Preacher Huijun.

No Comments