‘He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well.’ Jeremiah 2 2:16 NIV

When he was a theology student, Jim Wallis and some of his classmates took scissors to the Bible and cut out every verse about poverty, wealth, justice, or oppression. And would you believe it, by the time they had finished, there were some two thousand verses lying on the floor! The fact is, when you cut concern for the poor from your Bible, you cut the heart right out of it! Here is one such verse: ‘“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’ (Jeremiah 22:16 NIV).

Jesus often quoted Scripture, but only on one occasion do we find Him selecting and reading from it. And what portion did He choose to read publicly? ‘”The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free’ (Luke 4:18 NIV). Jesus’ to-do list is: help for body and soul, strength for the physical and spiritual, and therapy for temporal and eternal.

Now some people (albeit a minority) are poor because they’re lazy and need to be taught that God’s Word says, ‘Those unwilling to work will not get to eat’ (2 Thessalonians 3:10 NLT). But others are poor because parasites have weakened their bodies, or they spend six hours every day collecting water, or rebel armies have destroyed their farms, or disease has claimed their parents. These are the people God has assigned us to care for!

SoulFood: Acts 1:1 – 3:10, Mark 3:7-12, Ps 43, Pro 10:17-18

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright ©