“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (JS 1:27).
“If a Brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace and be filled: notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yes, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew the my faith BY MY WORKS” (JS 2:15-18).
“Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself” (PRO 21:13).
While reading the above passages this morning, I was once again reminded that biblical Christianity is not simply what takes place on Sunday. It’s what takes place throughout the week, as we consecrate our lives wholly to God, and we reach out to the hurting, the helpless, and those with very little hope, “around the corner” and “around the world,” with hearts and hands of compassion.
Our attitudes and actions towards the poor and the needy “around the corner” and “around the world” are actually a good reflection of the reality and the depth of our faith!
Regrettably, so much of our Christianity revolves around us and those closest to us (family, friends, fellow church members). If we were to be brutally honest, very little of our time, talents, and treasures are focused upon the poor, the needy, the widow, the orphan, and other hurting people “around the corner” or “around the world.”
Every once in a while it would be good for us to ask ourselves a few tough questions:
(1) When I hear of, or see a poor and needy person what are my initial thoughts?
(2) When I get around my family, friends, and fellow-laborers, and the topic of the poor and needy comes up, what attitudes are reflected by the words we say?
- Would these attitudes be Christlike and reveal a heart of compassion for those who do not have what we have?
(3) How much of my time, talents, and treasures are being invested to help the hurting and the helpless “around the corner” and “around the world”?
The honest answers to the questions above, reveal much about the reality and depth of our faith in Christ.
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 JN 3:16-18).
“You can always identify the righteous by their attitude and activity toward the least of these. Always.”