Marketplace Meditations 2/9

Your Ministry to the Poor

February 9


"Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter? When you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?" (Is 58:7).

For many years, I have read this passage without responding to it personally. I read it and moved on to the rest of my Bible reading without any actions steps. It was just another verse of scripture. Then one day the Holy Spirit asked me a question. "Os, how are you ministering to the poor in my name?" It was a very convicting question.

As I began to ponder that question, I realized I had no specific focus on the poor in my workplace ministry. Sure, I give to my local church that often gives to the poor and I may give a donation to the needy here or there. However, I was not directly involved in any specific activity that served the poor. I believed God was challenging me to change this.

I began praying about this and soon God connected me with a Christian leader in the nation of Uganda. I had never been to a third world nation. I had not seen poverty up close and personal. I decided this was God's answer to my prayer. Paying all my own expenses, I traveled to Uganda. I visited the camps where thousands of people have come to live - having abandoned their lands because of a 20-year rebel war. Children have been killed and maimed. During my stay, I experienced limited access to electricity and other basic needs we take for granted in the west. It is a stark contrast to how so many of us live.

This trip has begun a long term relationship with the nation of Uganda. The Lord does not ask us to give what we don't have. However, I do believe each of us should ask God, "What do I have in my hand that I can offer?" That is what Elisha asked of the widow. And God performed a miracle through what she had (2 Kings 4:2).

Ask God today what you have in your hand that you can give to the poor.

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