Our Obligation to Support the Global Poor
May 3, 2023
May 3, 2023
Supporting the Poor & the Stranger
Story after story in the Bible shows us God’s love for the outcast, the stranger, and the poor. In the New Testament, Jesus is clear that one of the most fundamental elements of the Christian life is service to others. Paul drives this point home in Romans 13:9, saying that all the commandments can be summarized with one sentence: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
We know our great work in life is to love others well, to serve instead of be served. But how does that translate to serving the global poor? Shouldn’t we focus our resources on our local communities? Isn’t the more immediate need—the people who live and work nearest to us—the more important one?
Well, the answer is yes to the first part—and no to the second. Helping the local community and helping the global poor aren’t mutually exclusive. We do not have to choose one or the other. In fact, we shouldn’t.
The Church and Poverty
From the beginning of the Bible, God’s overarching will for His people is to care for the poor and oppressed. When the Israelites are exiled in the Old Testament, it is because of their idolatry—and something else. Several passages in Isaiah indicate that God was angry with His people because they failed to “loose the chains of injustice,” “clothe the naked,” and “spend themselves on behalf of the hungry.”
If we carry the same mindset to our present circumstances, we have to consider how we, as the modern church, can take those actions. According to well-known pastor Kevin DeYoung, there are two biblical principles that should guide us as we seek to serve the poor in our lives. First, we should help those closes to us—people in our own communities and spheres of influence. Second, we should help those least able to help themselves. DeYoung points out that in the Bible, that was often orphans and widows, whose status in society was essentially obliterated without the support of a man.
Today, we must still support orphans and widows—but we must also realize that anyone who is part of the Western world likely has access to finances, support systems, and resources to maintain their wellbeing. As we consider people who are most desperate for help and least able to obtain resources, we face the reality of the global poor.
Obligation to Serving the Global Poor
“Poverty” is a relative term. For example, what qualifies as living in poverty in the United States would be considered a life of luxury in Malawi, India, or Uganda. If our mission as followers of Christ is to care for the stranger and support the poor, then we must consider the global poor. We will not find people more at-risk than children who live on less than one dollar per day. How can we expect kids to afford food—let alone water, clothes, or education? How will they end the cycle of poverty and learn self-sustainability if someone doesn’t provide them with an avenue to freedom?
At Forgotten Children Worldwide, we believe in paving that path to freedom for some of the globe’s most at-risk children—not just freedom from poverty, but freedom in Christ. Our programs are designed to provide kids in our partner countries with food, water, and access to education and safety. But by meeting those needs, we also bring them closer to Christ and empower them to become disciples who serve their own communities, too.
In the United States, we might see serving the global poor as something that happens at a distance—but on the ground, the “global poor” are humans just as worthy of our love, support, and investment. When we serve them, we create ripple effects in local communities all over the world, which is exactly what God calls His church to do.
To do your part in serving others around the globe, consider becoming a child sponsor. For just over one dollar a day, you can facilitate the safe environment kids need to break the cycle of poverty.
Looking for ways to get involved?
If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach to make a Kingdom impact, consider applying for one of our volunteer positions.
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