“There is a part of God’s heart that we will only get to know when we get our lives involved with the poor and needy.” Don Steadman //
If you’ve read the Bible for any amount of time, read any chapter, or sang any worship song, there is a characteristic of God that we all know: his heart for the poor.
God is described in Psalms as a “father to fatherless, a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5-6). He “raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; He sets them with princes” and, “He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children” (Psalm 113:7-9). God’s heart for the needy mark Him, and His love for them isn’t just deep, but extravagant.
It’s one thing to know God cares for the poor—logically, that makes sense. But what is God’s heart for all the peoples of the earth? And why?
“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).
There is a part of God’s heart that we will only get to know when we get our lives involved with the poor and needy. It is the vein of loving God and loving others, and when we relinquish that responsibility to everyone else but ourselves, we give up a piece of God that we will never know and miss out on the grander story.
Most of us think missions are a “good thing”, but for someone else, the “holiest” of us. We fail to realize it is a commission given to all of us and is a direct invitation into the grander story of salvation through Jesus. This invitation, to step into the metanarrative of how God is at work in the earth, is ingrained into who we are. We are all made in the image of God, and He cares about the poor and needy, those who have not yet heard. How can we not respond to what is on His heart? It’s not that people don’t need or want Jesus – they just don’t know Him yet. How do they get to know Him? There is an open invitation for us to fill that role:
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of Jesus of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:13-15).
God wants us to step into relationship with people all across the world and share the good news with them. It’s not that we have to, but that we get to. When we do, we get to know the depths of God’s love and in our affection for Him, share that with others. We’re invited to take the Gospel, pack it in our hearts and carry it across the seas for those who don’t yet know it.
How then can we practically step into caring for the needy and begin to shift our own perspectives?
Ask God what you can lay down for others. This could be anything from time, money, fear or pride, anything keeping you from stepping into the grander story of God. Ask God what is hindering you and how to surrender to His story. Be specific with how you are going to obey.
There are a ton of missionaries and non-profits currently working to spread the Gospel. Is there someone you can support in not only prayer but also in giving? Where can you put your finances and see the Kingdom of God advanced? As the body, we are all working toward one goal!
Where is God inviting you to go? Whether it is short term or long term, overseas or in this country, we are all called to go. God can highlight specific people and places to us; pray and ask God where He wants you!