Proverbs 22: 9 “Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.”
Two weeks ago, Living Word Church (the church that our parents founded and pastor) began a new ministry. A few months ago, a number of us in our family discovered that we all had an increasing desire to minister to the poor in our city. Our hearts were breaking more and more each time we saw them on the streets – mainly the old women who would be standing out in the cold, barely scraping by on the loose change that people would give them.
God began to show my mom more and more places in the Bible where He commands His church to care for the poor. Dreams immediately began to run through our heads – a soup kitchen, a free retirement home for these people who can barely afford to live, a sponsorship program…..But then we realized, we were a long way from being able to accomplish these things. Our church doesn’t even have a building of it’s own yet, so where would we get the money for a soup kitchen? And then God said, “You have 2 hands and 2 feet. Go”
So 2 weeks ago, we went. We went to the store, bought 15 packs of spaghetti noodles, 15 cans of liver pate, 15 bags of sugar, 15 boxes of tea, 15 loaves of bread, 15 apples, 15 chocolate bars and 15 bars of soap. Another missionary family also donated some hats, socks, and blankets that they had left over from a shipment sent to them. We put together 15 bags with the food and hats/socks (we’ll use the blankets in 2 weeks), and we headed to town on Saturday afternoon to go show God’s love to some forgotten people.
Unfortunately, it was so cold that day that many of the people we usually see on the streets weren’t out, and almost none were standing on the sidewalks asking for money that day. So, we set off to seek them out on the side streets and near city trash bins we knew of. Sure enough, after about 10 minutes of walking, my group and I came upon an elderly lady who was digging in some trash bins, pulling out empty alcohol bottles (to re-sell for a tiny bit of loose change). We tapped her on the shoulder and asked if we could give her a bag of groceries. She said yes, began to thank us, and then with tears in her eyes she said, “You don’t even know me.” We told her that no, we didn’t know her, but God knows her and remembers about her. We prayed a blessing over her, reminded her of God’s love, and went on our way.
A total of about 7 of our bags were given out that day. Each one put into the hands of someone whom God wanted to show His love to in a special way that day.
This year, our family decided to celebrate Christmas by giving to the poor again. So, this past Saturday, we made up 15 more bags, this time with honey, buckwheat, sardines, crackers, cookies, instant soup, mandarines, socks, and sponges. Again, there weren’t as many people out on the streets as we’ve seen sometimes, but there were more than the previous week. My mom and I decided to go back to the trash bins where I had met the elderly lady the previous week, praying she would be there. As we walked up, we saw her, again digging in the trash bin pulling out bottles. I asked her if she remembered me, and she did. She said the groceries had been so wonderful, especially the sugar, because she
had run out of sugar and it made her so happy to have it. When my mom asked her name, she said her name is Lucya, and began to tell us a little more about herself. She said she looks for bottles and sells them to help pay her bills. Lucya is 78 years old, and when we told her she has beautiful eyes (her eyes are an amazing crystal blue color) she said that she hasn’t looked in a mirror for years. In just 2 weeks though, we have seen how she is so blessed by the food. But also I can tell that someone taking the time to talk to her, letting her know that she isn’t forgotten, those are just as much of a blessing.
Each one of us in our family has our own stories to tell from these times of taking food to the poor. Each of us have been impacted in one way or another. We plan on doing this every other weekend, and I know I personally can’t wait to continue building relationships with the people we are meeting. We are also planning on buying some large thermoses and taking homemade soup with us to give a cup to each person we meet.
This morning, I was reminded of Psalms 23:6, and as I read it I thought of Lucya and all the other people we have met these past 2 weeks.
Psalm 23:6 (NLT) “Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life…”
Lucya and the countless of other poor people in this city are mostly forgotten by the hundreds of people who walk past them everyday. But God has not forgotten them. They themselves may at times think that God has left them, but His goodness and unfailing love is still passionately pursuing them.
Is it fair that some people in this world are not blessed materially and have to beg on the streets just to survive? No, it’s not. But, if we as the church fulfill God’s commandments to us, they wouldn’t have to be begging on the streets. God has given us 2 hands, 2 feet, and the means to help these people. Even if we don’t have an abundance of money in these financially unstable times, we each have enough to buy a bag of groceries for at least one person.
“Blessed are those who are generous, for they feed the poor.” -God