Helping the Poor
Psalm 41:1,2 Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on the earth.
Proverbs 14: 21 He who despises his neighbor sins; but he who has mercy on the poor; happy is he.
Proverbs 14:31 He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker; but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.
Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
James 2:5,6 Listen, my beloved brethren: has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?
I had the privilege of living in Germany for several years. My husband was a civilian DOD employee and we were stationed in many of the lovely areas of that beautiful country. It also afforded us the opportunity to travel to some of the other countries. One of the places we visited was the capital city of the Czech Republic, Prague.
Our travel was an overnight train and we had a berthing room and were able to doze fairly comfortably. However, it was immediately noticeable when we left Germany and entered the Czech Republic. The train noticeably slowed, and the tracks felt ‘rickety and wobbly.’ The ride no longer felt smooth and speedy to me. Unable to sleep now, I sat up, occasionally moving the shade and trying to look out at the area.
After a couple of hours, it became light enough to see, and I was struck by the desolation. I prayed it was the dimness of the early morning, but it was not. I was ferociously conscious of being thankful I had never had to raise my three children in this area. It was overwhelmingly sad for me, and I was repeatedly struck with HOW DO YOU INSTILL HOPE TO YOUR CHILDREN HERE?
How blessed we are to live in the US. And yes, I am aware of much poverty in our own country, and have traveled to other countries and seen poverty there. And again, have been privileged to send up an immediate prayer of thanksgiving that I live here, and do not have to try to encourage my children when there are few jobs, housing is rundown as funds to repair are lacking, and all around is dismal and sad. Many of these people were working hard, and yet had so little. It felt hopeless to me.
Sometimes, I would see a man looking out over the ‘courtyard’ of his apartment building, and there was nothing but broken cement, rutted walkways, and trees with big roots sticking up, and many broken bottles. Where could the children play? Where were the children?
Yet the inner city of Prague was lovely, deceptively lovely. One would never guess that two miles out of town was desolate and sad. There were lovely shops, jewelry, leather goods, clothing, and it all looked so grand, posh, and elegant. The shop personnel were pleasant and eager to offer assistance, and I wondered how one could afford the lovely clothing they wore in order to maintain a job in these swanky stores. I felt a little sick knowing the way others lived not too far down the street.
Old town was also lovely and historic, and this area of Prague held no clue to the dismal appearance just outside of this area. Old Town sits above the posh modern section of shops, and it is also lovely, and my mind loved imagining the life back more than hundred years.
It made me more thankful than I normally am to know I live in this country, and that I could help occasionally in a food bank, soup kitchen, giving my “extras” to be donated, and I rarely worried about purchasing food. (I might grumble when I was feeding teenage sons and a few of their friends dropped by for supper, but I still knew we could feed extra mouths a couple times.) We had electricity, heat, air conditioning if needed, and I truly wondered if these folks who lived outside of the shopping area had enough of anything.
Obviously, God has strong feelings for the poor, needy, and widows. You can find many, many verses written in His book about the poor. I think it important we do what we can to help. I won’t ever forget the dismal area I witnessed those few days.
My heart broke even as I gave repeated thanks for what I have been blessed with. Sometimes, I think we have little clue as to how others are forced to live and endure. I am so blessed to live and have what I have, and most importantly to know, He has me. I am blessed and He has me. Thank You, Jesus.
You bless me and ‘mybellaviews.’