Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Jesus' proxies

TO READ: Psalm 72:1-20

“For He will deliver the needy when he cries,
The poor also, and him who has no helper
He will spare the poor and needy
And will save the souls of the needy.
He will redeem their life from oppression and violence
And precious shall be their blood in His sight.”  Psalm 72:12-14

Are you a naturally compassionate person when it comes to the poor and needy? I have to confess  I’m not. Last year while doing research for an article, I helped out with a project in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. A friend who works there all the time talked of the kinship she felt with the down-and-outers all around us. I couldn’t say I felt the same bond.

Yet whether we feel called to work with the needy or not, they will come across our path. I admit, to my shame, that I continue to struggle with knowing how to respond to panhandlers and being a friend to the needy and socially awkward.

However, God’s plans for them are not ambiguous. They include (according to Psalm 72) answering their cries, saving them and redeeming their lives from oppression and violence. How will He do those things? Through us. Here is a brief comment from my Bible's notes on Psalm 72:

“The Bible often speaks of God blessing His people, rewarding them for their godly behavior. As we grow in godliness, we begin to understand that God blesses us with a purpose in mind – blessing us that we might be a blessing to others and so that the nations of the world will come to know Him.” (p. 741 – New Spirit Filled Life Bible).

If you (and I) need any more motivation, we can read Jesus’ words when in judgment He separates people on the basis of how they treated the hungry, thirsty, naked stranger, prisoner: “…inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”

GRACE: Lord, help me to see You in the addicts, the mentally ill, the social misfits – indeed all the categories of poor and needy – and to be a conduit of Your love and blessing. I can’t do this on my own!

MORE: Tim Huff is someone who serves the needy in Toronto, Canada. His award-winning book Bent Hope – A Street Journal is about that ministry. “Drunk Prayers” is a moving story from his life. 

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