Be Still Know
‘But if there are any poor Israelites in your towns when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward them.’
The word ‘poor’ immediately conjures in my mind someone who is economically poor. They lack sufficient finances to live at a level which society defines as normal or comfortable.
Today, poverty blights the world. Indeed, for all that secular enlightenment has given us, the gap between rich and poor, both globally and across the UK, is growing. Oxfam reported that in 2015 the richest 62 people in the world had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people, the bottom half of society.
While we may see the worst and most televised aspects of this far from our own shores, yet all reports reveal that a rise in poverty is affecting the UK. God throughout scripture requires his people to act open-handedly towards the poor.
The Church has a role as an effective mediating structure, to be the space where the poor can find some encouragement and support. It’s not about handouts – none of us has enough financial resources to meet a need spiralling out of control year on year. But we do have buildings, a call to hospitality and the skills to work with those marginalised through poverty, often not a result of their own action or inaction, in seeking to encourage and empower them.
QUESTION: How might you offer some of your leisure time to offering hospitality or practical skills training through the Church community that carries Christ’s name and reputation in your community and the wider world?
NOVENA PRAYER: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, hear me as I cry out for the economically poor. Your heart is already for them, so soften my heart and inspire my imagination that I can serve you here among the poor with my practical hospitality and skills. The first step towards enabling a social network is to open a door to a space to meet and share experience. May my church provide such a space as an expression of mercy.