Sabbath, October 29, 2005
“… we need not go to Nazareth, to Capernaum, or to Bethany, in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great city, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation. In doing as Jesus did when on earth, we shall walk in His steps.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 640.
• To come close to those who are suffering want and hardship.
• To follow the example of Job in his ministry to the poor.
• To help the poor to help themselves.
THE RIGHT ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE POOR
1. What is God’s attitude toward the poor?
Psalms 72:12, 13 For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.
“Christ stood at the head of humanity in the garb of humanity. So full of sympathy and love was His attitude that the poorest was not afraid to come to Him. He was kind to all, easily approached by the most lowly. He went from house to house, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, comforting the mourners, soothing the afflicted, speaking peace to the distressed.” –Welfare Ministry, p. 170.
2. Why do so many people neglect the poor?
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
“God has called us to service as well as to right living. He requires all to do with faithfulness, the duties of today; but these duties are much neglected by the majority of professed Christians. They shun the lowly and humble poor, and self-denying, self-sacrificing work for Christ. Their supreme selfishness leads them to choose easier and more agreeable work.” –The Southern Watchman, July 9, 1903.
“God desires His children to remember that in order to glorify Him, they must bestow their affection on those who need it most. None with whom we come in contact are to be neglected. No selfishness in look, word, or deed is to be manifested to our fellow beings, whatever their position, whether they be high or low, rich or poor. The love that gives kind words to only a few, while others are treated with coldness and indifference, is not love, but selfishness. It will not in any way work for the good of souls or the glory of God. We are not to confine our love to one or two objects.” –My Life Today, p. 80.
AN ACCEPTABLE MINISTRY
3. How does the prophet Isaiah describe an acceptable ministry that is very practical and that needs to be implemented?
Isaiah 58:7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
4. How did the patriarch Job learn of the needs of the poor?
Job 29:16 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.
“Your good wishes we will thank you for, but the poor cannot keep comfortable on good wishes alone. They must have tangible proofs of your kindness in food and clothing. God does not mean that any of His followers should beg for bread. He has given you an abundance that you may supply those of their necessities which by industry and economy they are not able to supply. Do not wait for them to call your attention to their needs. Act as did Job. The thing that he knew not he searched out. Go on an inspecting tour and learn what is needed and how it can be best supplied.” –Welfare Ministry, p.183.
5. What tangible evidence is produced when one has the love of God in his heart?
Matthew 25:35, 36 For I was an hungred, 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.
“Donations of money cannot take the place of personal ministry. It is right to give our means, and many more should do this; but according to their strength and opportunities, personal service is required of all. The work of gathering in the needy, the oppressed, the suffering, the destitute, is the very work which every church that believes the truth for this time should long since have been doing. We are to show the tender sympathy of the Samaritan in supplying physical necessities, feeding the hungry, bringing the poor that are cast out to our homes, gathering from God every day grace and strength that will enable us to reach to the very depths of human misery and help those who cannot possibly help themselves. In doing this work we have a favorable opportunity to set forth Christ the crucified One.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 275, 276.
WHOM TO HELP AND HOW
6. Of whom should we especially take notice when working among different classes of people?
Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
“In a special sense Christ has laid upon His church the duty of caring for the needy among its own members. He suffers His poor to be in the borders of every church. They are always to be among us, and He places upon the members of the church a personal responsibility to care for them. As the members of a true family care for one another, ministering to the sick, supporting the weak, teaching the ignorant, training the inexperienced, so is the ‘household of faith’ to care for its needy and helpless ones. It is the duty of each church to make careful, judicious arrangements for the care of its poor and sick. Any neglect on the part of those who claim to be followers of Christ, a failure to relieve the necessities of a brother or a sister who is bearing the yoke of poverty and oppression, is registered in the books of heaven as shown to Christ in the person of His saints. What a reckoning the Lord will have with many, very many, who present the words of Christ to others but fail to manifest tender sympathy and regard for a brother in the faith who is less fortunate and successful than themselves.” –My Life Today, p. 245.
7. What can be done to help the poor to help themselves?
2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should eat.
“Men and women of God, persons of discernment and wisdom, should be appointed to look after the poor and needy, the household of faith first. These should report to the church and counsel as to what should be done. Instead of encouraging the poor to think that they can have their eating and drinking provided free, or nearly so, we should place them where they can help themselves. We should endeavor to provide them with work, and if necessary, teach them how to work. Let the members of poor households be taught how to cook, how to make and mend their own clothing, how to care properly for the home. Let boys and girls be thoroughly taught some useful trade or occupation. We are to educate the poor to become self-reliant. This will be true help, for it will not only make them self-sustaining but will enable them to help others.” –Welfare Ministry, p.194.
“In trying to help the needy, we should be careful to give them the right kind of help. There are those who when helped will continue to make themselves special objects of need. They will be dependent as long as they see anything on which to depend. By giving undue time and attention to these, we may encourage idleness, helplessness, extravagance, and intemperance.” –Testimonies to the Church, vol. 6, pp. 277, 278.
8. What promises are made to those who consider the poor?
Psalms 41:1-3 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.
Proverbs 19:17; 28:27 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again…. He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
“The apportioning of rewards at the last day turns upon the question of our practical benevolence: ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’ Christ puts Himself in the poor man’s place, identifying His interest with that of the poor…. He calls upon each disciple to dispense with grateful liberality the gifts entrusted to him, as if he were bestowing the same upon his Redeemer.” –Our High Calling, p. 190.
• When was the last time you personally helped a poor person?
• Does the world owe you a living, or should you, with God’s help, find employment?