A few years ago, I boarded my first of many flights to Africa to serve some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Despite many preparations, I was still not ready for my initial confrontation with desperate poverty.
I felt the shame of my own comfortable lifestyle while these precious people went days without food. I felt anger at the injustice of predatory men taking advantage of vulnerable women. I felt love of and protectiveness over the children who soldiered on after their parents died from AIDS.
After I returned home, I threw myself into helping these new friends. They had problems, and I was determined to provide solutions. I resolved to better the physical circumstances of as many people as I could.
While I was motivated by compassion, my initial response to their poverty was incomplete. By God’s grace, He has given me a better response to injustice.
If we really want to help the poor, we will start by recognizing that people’s greatest need is Christ, not the alleviation of their material poverty. This truth will shape our involvement with them for the glory of God. What the poor need most is reconciliation — to God, to others and to creation.
Consider the following ways we can holistically help the poor. …Read More.