I'm here today with another guest post for Project Love! I asked Mrs. Ewing to share with us about the topic of loving the poor. Her family runs a ministry that shares the Gospel with the less-privileged in other countries, and it has blessed my family to watch and learn how God has used them to make a difference.
I hope this post is encouraging to you. Step out, my friend, and let's love as our Savior has loved us.
Hello, my name is Mary Ewing. I am married to my best friend, Dean, and the Lord has blessed us with six wonderful children. God brought our family together with Hosanna’s family in 2007, and we have been blessed with a wonderful friendship between our families ever since.
Dean and I have been married for twenty-five years and as we have sought the Lord’s will for our lives, He has taught us so much about His heart for the poor and needy and how He wants us to give ourselves to helping the poor and needy in Jesus name.
God’s compassion and care for the “least of these”, meaning those who are needy and who lack daily necessities, is woven throughout the Bible. God highly values the poor and the wounded, and we reflect Him when we care for the needs of the needy, both locally and globally.
I would like to share three practical steps you can take to develop a heart that reflects God’s heart in caring for the needy and oppressed. I encourage you that this is a lifelong process, but it is wonderful to begin now while you are young. I would also encourage you that there are no limits to how much God can use you as a channel of blessing to others. He delights to take His children and use them to do impossible things.
In 2002, Dean and I found ourselves in transition. God had led him to resign a position as a pastor and we were praying about what was next. We were discussing what approach he should take in looking for a new job, and he posed the question, "Should I look for the job that will make the most money or should I look for a job in ministry that may not pay as well?" We decided to read through the whole Bible and look specifically for what it said about money, possessions, how we spent our time and what should be important to us. We did this independently, and the results changed our lives! We discovered what God valued and it was so different than what the world around us valued.
I am currently studying through the book of Isaiah and one of my goals is to continue to build my understanding of God’s heart for the poor and needy. Isaiah opens his book in chapter one with some amazing words. In Isaiah 1:10-20, God, through the prophet Isaiah, tells the people He is not pleased with their religious behaviors. He uses strong language to let them know their sacrifices are not acceptable in His sight. He issues a clear and unmistakable call in verse 16 and 17.
"Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; Seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow." - Isaiah 1:16-17
The Lord is saying that He is not pleased with our “religious” behaviors, but He wants us to seek justice, encourage the oppressed, defend the cause of the fatherless (orphan), and plead the case of the widow. Justice in this context means caring about those who are in need and working to make things right so they have what they need.
The theme of caring for the poor is woven throughout Isaiah. Another key passage is found in Isaiah 58. The whole chapter reiterates the message of Isaiah 1:16, 17. It is a sobering thought to think that God may not be pleased with our “worship and Christian activity” if it is devoid of a true heart of compassion and care for the needy.
I encourage you to study the Word of God yourself and seek out His heart. Ask Him to reveal His compassion to you. Take notes on what the Lord shows you through His Word. The Gospels are a great place to begin and read to know God’s heart. Matthew 25:31-46 is a key passage where Jesus explains how important it is to care for those who have less than we do.
Here in the United States, it can be easy to think that the needs in the world are small. Most everyone around us here in the US has adequate food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medical care and education. Even those we might feel are “poor” here, have food and clothing. There are true situations of need here in the US at times, but we have to look beyond the US to see an accurate picture of global need. I recently heard a statistic that the number of people in India who live on $2 per day or less is equal to or greater than the number of people in the entire United States. We are an anomaly. Most of the world has great need, and it is important that we learn about their need and about what we can do to help with their need.
Here are a few ideas to help you learn about the needs in the world. Research specific countries and look at statistics related to education, health care and poverty. Find reputable ministries and read their literature or look at their websites to help you understand the needs they are helping with. I would suggest that Samaritan’s Purse is an excellent ministry to learn through. They work all over the world and seek to go where needs are greatest. Compassion International is another reputable ministry that is working to bring help to children around the world. It is important that you and your parents investigate a ministry, especially in how they handle their finances before you trust them as credible.
Read biographies about people who are helping others in Jesus name. Kisses from Katie is an excellent biography of a young woman who is alive right now. She felt the Lord calling her to Uganda and went in obedience to his call. She adopted 14 young orphan girls before she was twenty-five years old and shares a beautiful story in her book.
There are local needs too. I encourage you to learn about ministries in your community that are helping the needy. These could be local food banks, crisis pregnancy centers, hospices, nursing homes, jail ministries and more. One key thing to remember as you do this research is to not be overwhelmed by the need, instead, take your knowledge of the need and say to the Lord, "I am available to be used by you, please show me what to do."
This is an exciting step! God can and wants to use you! Right where you are, right now, He can use you.
He can use you in ways you might think are impossible. When we understand God’s heart for the poor and needy around us locally and globally, and when we offer ourselves to be used by Him, He will do amazing things. We don’t always know the impact of what we do, but we can rest that in eternity we will know. Helping the poor happens by helping one person at a time. Once we learn about the need, it is important to remember that the burden for all of the needs is carried by the Lord. We listen to Him, and we help one here and one there. We pray for one here and one there or we pray for a nation or an issue such as need for education.
How can you help practically? Here are some specific ideas to get you started. Pack a shoebox through Operation Christmas Child. There are wonderful stories on the Samaritan’s Purse website about the impact these shoeboxes are having around the world. They are delivered to some of the neediest children around the world and whole families and villages have come to Christ because of a shoebox gift. Pack one, and ask God if He might stretch your faith and have you pack two or five or ten? If you want to give, He will provide.
I am aware of a young person who recently felt the desire to give to help the poor and needy. This young person did not have any income but prayed God would make a way. Three separate odd jobs came his way, and the Lord gave him the opportunity to earn money to give to the poor.
Another idea is to sponsor a child through Compassion International or another reputable organization. Another idea is to learn of a need in the world and trust God to channel money to you so you can meet that need. Local ideas could be volunteering at a pregnancy center, or a food bank or a sport’s ministry to kids. I encourage you to seek out Christian ministries where the gospel of Jesus Christ is shared along with the practical help.
I hope some of these ideas will spark other ideas for you. There is so much joy that comes to us as we give ourselves, our time and our money to help the poor and needy. God’s love shines very brightly through us and people’s hearts are opened to his gospel message.
Our family operates a non-profit ministry that helps the poor in seven countries around the world. It is called Hearts of Hope, and, if you are interested, we would be glad to send you our e-newsletter each month. The e-newsletter shares what God has been doing in each country the month before and it is encouraging to see Him at work. If you would like to receive our newsletter, you could let Hosanna know, and she can connect us. The website for our ministry is: http://www.heartsofhopeministry.com
The website does not have a lot of specific information because it could put our partners at risk. Our e-newsletter is not online and we share current photos and stories through it.
May the Lord bless you as you follow Him…