"Those who surrender to the services of the poor through love of Chr-st will live like the grain of wheat that dies. It only apparently dies. If it were not to die, it would make a solitary grain. The harvest comes because of the grain that dies. We know that every effort to improve society, above all when society is so full of injustice and sin, is an effort that The L-RD (ADONAI) blesses, that THE L-RD (ADONAI), that THE L-RD (ADONAI) demands of us." - Archbishop Oscar Romero, El Salvador, 1990
"Become a Co-Worker With Chr-st" - Mother Theresa
"My children (Israel), whenever you give sustenance to the poor, I impute it to you as though you gave sustenance to ME.Does THE L-RD (ADONAI) eat or drink? No, but whenever you give food to the poor, THE L-RD (ADONAI) accounts it to you as if you gave food to him" - Midrash Tannaim
"If you seek happiness for yourself, you will never find it. Only when you seek happiness for others will it come to you. - Midrash Tannaim
"The Talmud states "Providing charity for the poor and hungry people weighs are healthy as all the other Commandments of the Torah combined."." - Baba Betra
"Our greatest pain comes when we wish our work to be part of the signs of the Kingdom, expressed through the local church,and to find ourselves with a church that is willing or unable to be this sign with us." - Bryant Myers
"A humble man (or woman) can do great things with an uncommon perfection because he (they) are no longer concerned about accidentals - like his (their) own interests and reputation - and therefore he (they) no longer needs to waste his (their) efforts in defending them. For a humble man (or woman) is not afraid of failure. In fact, he (they) is not afraid of anything, even of himself (themselves), since perfect humility, implies perfect confidence in the power of THE L-RD (ADONAI) before whom no their power has any meaning and for whom there is no such things as obstacles." - Thomas Morton - 20th Century Monk
One of the most addressed topics in the Bible is about our personal reaction to the poor and needy and the way as ADONAI's (the Creator's) people are to minister to them. The ministry to the needy and the poor is clearly part of a Godly lifestyle. There should be a distinction in mind between those who are needy and those who are poor. The needy doesn't always have to be the lowest in income. They have a personal need that needs to be met one way or another.
Back in 2002, I had stopped at a First Baptist Church in the New Orleans, Louisiana area and I picked up a copy of a brochure written by the Ethics and and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. It was part of the "The Bible Speaks Series" and is entitled "Hunger - Insights from Scripture on the role of Christians as ministers to the poor and destitute". I have pretty well worn out my copy folding and unfolding it as I share the insights with others. I would like to share portions of the brochure here for you to read. All Scripture is from the King James Version of the Bible.
The L-RD cares greatly about the hungry and poor as shown in both the Old and New Testaments.
Isaiah 58:6-7 - "Is not this the fact that I have chosen to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and ye that brake every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry; and thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover them; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?"
James 2:5 - "Hearken my beloved brethren, Hath not G-D chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?"
Luke 4:18 - "The Spirit of the L-RD is upon me, because he hath annointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, to set at liberty them that are bruised..."
Luke 6:20-21 - "And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for your's is the kingdom of G-D. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for you shall be filled". While recognizing the persistence of the problem, the L-RD works through His people through the discipline of regular giving (gleaning) to provide for those in need."
Deuteronomy 24:19-21 - "When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again and to fetch it; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow; that the L-RD thy G-D may bless thee in all the works of thy hand. When thou bearest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and the widow. When thou shall gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow."
Leviticus 19:9-10 - "And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean the vineyards; thou shalt leave them for the poor and the stranger..."
The L-RD calls his people to be involved in the ministry to those in need
Galations 2:10 - "They (John and Cephas) would that we should remember the poor...."
Luke 3:11 - "He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise."
The ministry to the poor is a service to the L-RD
Matthew 25:35-40 - "For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, L-RD, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? And the king shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethen, ye have done it unto me."
Ministry to the poor yields great joy.
Proverbs 14:21 - "He that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he."
Turning a deaf ear to those in need stifles the spiritual life.
Proverbs 21:13 - "Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard."
Mistreatment and neglect of the poor results in the L-RD's judgement.
Jeremiah 5:28-29 - "They judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the L-RD: shall not my soul be angered on such a nation as this?"
Matthew 25:41-46 - "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels: "For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye not clothed me: sick and in prison, and ye visited me not...Then shall he answer, saying, Verily I say unto you, In as much as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
Caring for the poor leads to a change in the life of the giver
Isaiah 58:10-11 - "And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as noon day; And the L-RD shall ugide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not."
Ministry to those in need demonstrates the reality of being a follower of the Messiah.
James 2:15-17 - "If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be warmed and be filled; not withstanding ye give them not these things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."
1 John 3:17-19 - "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of G-D in him? My children, let us love not in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."
We must be cognizant of how we treat others and always treat them as we would personally want to be treated.
Matthew 7:12 - "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.