12 Ways to Connect With the Poor
The words in chapter 58 of the book of Isaiah have affected me for years. In that Scripture, God tells us the Father sees our relationship with the poor (or lack of it) as something serious. It is impossible to serve God with all our hearts and at the same time miss out on God’s call to care for the needy. The Scriptures say the way we care for the poor is tantamount to the way we see God. The prophet makes it clear that we must have a relationship with the poor if we hope to please God with our lives.
But in today’s church, most of us don’t know a single person who is needy. How can we obey God if we aren’t connecting with the poor on a regular basis? We can’t.
Something needs to change. We need to hear the call of God to those in need.
“You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord?” (Isa. 58:5 NLT)
We can get caught up in the mere motions of connecting with God. It is natural that we move from true intimacy with God into just outer motions of activity. Broken human nature will miss God. What sorts of traditions does your faith tribe connect with seeking God in worship? Raising hands? Closing your eyes? Standing up while singing? Nothing is wrong with such attempts, but we can miss Him as we do such things and even as we fast in an attempt to connect with the Father.
“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.” (Isa. 58:6-7)
God connects the practical with the spiritual. He tells us that we need to treat people differently if we hope to please Him. He calls us to the imprisoned, the oppressed, the hungry, the homeless and even relatives who need our help.
“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
“Then when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ He will quickly reply.” (Isa. 58:8-9)
Healing that is quick, new levels of godliness, guidance, salvation, the manifest glory of God—all those things happen as we rightly connect with God. What an amazing list of things that happen as we reform our approach to Him. When we connect with Him in these practical ways, we are plowing a path that will change everything.
What are you doing to connect with the poor? Here are a few practical actions to ponder: