Do You Have A Heart for the Poor and Needy?
Kerrville Daily Times and Community Journal
I will never forget the day ten years ago that I was driving my vehicle down Junction Hwy. At the time, I was the Executive Director of the Christian Women’s Job Corps of Kerr County. I had a client that was absent from class and had missed numerous days. Others in the class told me they had seen her the night before having a “good time”. I was upset that she had an incredible opportunity to change her life and advance her education and seemed to me to be throwing it away by her immaturity.
As I drove, I began to rehearse the lecture I was going to give her. After I did that, I began to pray for God to give me the words to speak and that they would be words that would penetrate her heart and change it. All of a sudden, I felt God’s presence in a strong way in my car. I felt Him speak to me and say, “Never give up on people Kathleen, because I don’t.” I was so moved by what I heard that I had to pull the car over to the side of the road and I began to weep.
“I’m sorry Lord,” I whispered. “Give me a heart like yours to always see the treasure in people,” I continued. “Let me be moved by your compassion and love.” I concluded.
When I arrived at her home, our conversation was different than what I rehearsed. I decided to tell her the truth and be transparent, something I think many in ministry have gotten away from. I shared with her I was coming over to tell her she was being removed from the program but God spoke something different to my heart. I showed her my humanity. I looked at her blue eyes and her pretty blonde hair and said, “I am not giving up on you because God is not giving up on you. I am committed to loving you.” She was shocked and I could see her surprise in her eyes. Her heart was touched and the unconditional loved extended to her began to change her heart but I think my heart is the one that began to change.
I began to ask God to show me His heart for the poor and needy. Do you know that the poor and needy are mentioned 119 times in scripture? That shows me those that are poor and needy in some capacity are near and dear to His heart; therefore, they should be to mine.
Proverbs 31:8 states “Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” (NIV) Those that are dealing with simply trying to stay alive and overcome adversity need others in their life that will speak up on their behalf. They need compassion and someone to believe in them. Often times if we are not careful, we can have a self righteous attitude of, “they made their bed, they can lie in it.”
Psalms 82:3 says, “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.” There are so many youth in our own community that are fatherless. Good fathers protect and provide for their children and yet there are kids right here in our churches and schools that need our help and mentoring. They need someone to protect and provide for their needs. They need someone to give them hope for their future. They need someone dependable in their lives.
Another good scripture that shows us God’s heart for those struggling is Jeremiah 22:16. It says, “He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord.” This is an admonishment with a promise. There are blessings when we follow God’s ways and treat others with the compassion he would.
I have been asked several times if I am worried about being taken advantage of by those in need. I will have to confess, at first I was concerned about that until one day, God showed me that if I was pouring out His goodness to others and they were taking advantage of the situation, they were taking advantage of His goodness, not mine. Yes, I need to be wise but he has plenty to give and it is His problem, not mine. My job is to love as He would and give.
Being poor does not necessarily have to do with money. David, who wrote many of the Psalms, poured out his heart to God and said in Psalm 109:22,”For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.” (NIV) I love David’s gut level honesty. He is being open about how others have hurt him. He is not pretending the hurt didn’t happen. He is asking for help and admitting his need for others and healing in his heart. God did not design us to live life alone but with others. Over and over again, we are instructed to comfort one another, love one another, and be patient with one another. Do you care and extend love when someone around you is struggling or has been hurt or do you just judge them? Unless you have walked in their shoes, you better be careful.
Now back to the rest of the story about the young woman I was talking about at the beginning of the article. She did complete the program at CWJC and seeds were planted in her heart. For several years after that, I would frequently run into her at local stores. Each time I would greet her with a hug, encourage her in her education and other things in her life. I would always remind her of her value and worth. Today, she has her GED, has finished college courses and graduated, is a good mother, serving God and her father-in-law told me recently how proud of her he was and thanked me.
I learned a powerful lesson that has stuck with me from this experience. Never give up on people. Always extend love and help to the poor and needy as Jesus would. I challenge you to look around you today for those you can help. Maybe you can help with prayer, your time or maybe your money. The great thing with God, when you give, you always get more back. Will you join me in being a blessing to the poor and needy in our community?
Kathleen is a native of the Hill Country and is a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth. She can be heard on Sunday mornings from 8:00 am to 9:00 am on The REV FM, 94.3. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog at www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com