God's Heart for the Poor and Needy
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden
"'But a beautiful palace does not make a great king! Why did your father, Josiah, reign so long? Because he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. He made sure that justice and help were given to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn't that what it means to know me?’ asks the LORD.” Jeremiah 22:15-17 (NLT)
There are a variety of ways people try to know God or to understand His will better. Perhaps you read the Bible daily, take prayer walks, are in a small group or read HomeWord’s daily devotionals as a means to connect with the Lord. The Bible tells stories and shows different ways you can come to know the Lord more. One way not mentioned as often is serving the poor, needy, widowed and downtrodden. Serving the outcasts of our society is one way to develop and strengthen your spiritual walk. For many, this is the most difficult and stretching way to learn the Lord’s heart.
The poor, needy, widows and downtrodden are mentioned over three thousand times in the Bible. Reread the passage above from Jeremiah. Jeremiah is talking with King Josiah’s son, who is corrupt. “What makes a great king?” he asks. It is not the vast amount of wealth earned, nor is it the power held. God blessed King Josiah because he was “just and right in all his dealings.” Then, the passage points out that King Josiah’s giving justice and help to the poor and the needy was the demonstration that he was in synch with God.
The bottom line is this: when you serve, when you give to the poor and needy, when you step out of your comfort zone and step into lives filled with hurt, you will catch a glimpse of the Lord’s heart for His people. You will better understand what it means to know God, because you will step into and experience His heart for the afflicted.
Mother Teresa was a woman who had a deep calling to serve those in need. For 50 years she walked and lived alongside those whom society wished to forget: the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, the malnourished, the aged, the dying. In her life, she opened orphanages, soup kitchens and homes to fill these needs. She was best known for her work in Calcutta, India, where she ministered.
While the reality of being the next Mother Teresa may be beyond you or me, I find wisdom in her words. “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” You have the opportunity in your neighborhood to serve those in need. If you are willing to do small things with great love, you will see God do great things for the Kingdom. In the midst of serving, you will be surprised that you get more than you give, as you come to a closer understanding of God’s heart for those in need.
Proverbs 14:31; Psalm 113:7-8; Matthew 25:31-46