I know my blog posts have been more fun and lighthearted lately but will you allow me to switch gears a bit? Is that ok? Several weeks ago I read a book titled “Always Enough” by Heidi Baker (a female minister who works with the poor and orphaned in Mozambique) and I read a book titled, “Relentless” by Dave Donaldson (one of the co-founders of Convoy of Hope, a disaster relief and poverty relief organization). I also just so happened to read both books while I was in Haiti which I believe completed the trinity. The conglomeration of both books against the backdrop of Haiti, started to stir my heart. Heidi Baker explains that love looks like something and we have to seek out what that looks like for each person. She quoted Mother Teresa by saying, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” Donaldson shared his story of how he and his brothers lost their dad to a fatal car accident and how their family became destitute until men and women of G-d stepped in and were Christ's hands extended.
I started looking to see what the Bible really had to say about the poor and those in need in relation to myself.
“True religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves?Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” Isaiah 58:3b-9
I've always read the following passage but would forget to continue reading to the second half.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:34-46
I don't know about you, but I don't think He is playing when it comes to those in need. I think He takes this seriously, and therefore I should too. Over and over again when Jesus performed miracles it says He took compassion on the person. The term 'Christian' originally meant 'little Christ', so if I am not living a life of compassion and love as Christ did, can I call myself a Christian?
It's not like I have never seen compassion personified. My mother has always been a great example to me, by adopting my amazing siblings, taking in a widow when she couldn't afford her apartment after her husband died, inviting widowers and foreigners to family holiday meals because she knows they are alone and by teaching English to grown men and women weekly at her kitchen table. Though I want to move on from just hearing and seeing examples. I want to reject my apathy and actually do. I don't mean just going on a short-term missions trip or volunteering a few hours a week. And I don't just mean the monetarily poor, but those poor in spirit as well. I desire a lifestyle change, where regardless of where I am, those around me are aware of the love of G-d and His powerful compassion.
I don't feel there is any real good way to finish this post because it is expressing a need for an ongoing transformation in my life. This doesn't mean I can't joke around, be silly or talk about fashion and photography, it just means that that is not all I should talk about. I hope this doesn't sound too preachy or harsh, I don't mean to be on any sort of soap box, I just recognize something that needs to change in myself and perhaps putting this out there will be some form of accountability.