downloadThis summer our youngest daughter served as a college intern at an international school located in the Twin Cities. One of her assignments was to help teach English to people who had immigrated to the United States with the hopes of becoming citizens. She loves working with people from different cultures and told me that she often used stick-people drawings to communicate with her students and convey meanings of English words.  Her students, in turn, would ask questions and tell their stories through their own stick-people sketches.

Most of the drawings would be fun, happy depictions of a family. One drawing, however, was starkly different. It came from a family who had fled from violence and oppression in their native country. The drawing depicted several people in an ocean, outside of a boat. The faces of the stick-people inside the boat had large tears coming from their eyes. The meaning was clear: these were the people who lost their lives trying to escape the violence by climbing aboard small boats that were not made for ocean crossings. Some did not make it alive, and it was clear that our daughter’s students witnessed this horrible scene.

My point is not to make a political statement on immigration. Instead, I write this to remind myself and all who love Jesus Christ and live in abundance that we are called to share some of our God-given resources with those in need. Jesus made it clear that giving to those in need—even those who are invisible and seem the least important— is an act of worship given directly to Him.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Matthew 25:40

I love Psalm 112 that shows that those who love God will also reflect His love and care for the poor:

“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
Their righteousness endures forever;”
Psalm 112: 9

Finally, The Old Testament also details both the blessing of giving and the curse of withholding compassion and care to those in need:

“Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,
But those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.”
Proverbs 28:20

It’s good to worship God with words and music!  However, our verbal expressions must be backed up by lives that reflect and carry out God’s call to care for those in need.

There are many outstanding organizations that provide both temporal and spiritual nourishment to people in need. If you are not already giving to a faith-based relief organization, pray and ask God to direct you to one, and then give as an act of worship to God. Then check out the performance of that organization to assure that most of what you give gets to the people who need it most.

I once had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with some dedicated workers from Samaritan’s Purse. I learned these amazing people literally put their lives on the line to bring the love of Jesus to people in need through both material support and spiritual nourishment.  They bring housing, food, and practical supplies along with the hope of the Gospel to the front lines of human suffering. Samaritan’s Purse, along with other Christian organizations, is reaching out to victims of war, oppression, disasters, and suffering. If you’re interested in finding out more about how Samaritan’s Purse is reaching our to people in refugee camps, here is a link:

God intends that we should express our worship of Him in many ways, including practical care for those He loves who are in need.

God bless you!
Chris Atkins

Check out my book “The Isaiah Encounter: Living An Everyday Life of Worship” at Barnes and Noble and Amazon:

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