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Listen while you read: "Hail To The Lord's Anointed"1 (Lyrics)
Through media reports of displaced refugees, and even close to home, we are confronted with the poor in the world on a daily basis. I was discussing this with a friend one day, and we concluded that each one of us in our own way would try to help those in need through donations to mission projects, as well as supporting local food banks. We also recognized that so often, we fail to supply people with spiritual food.
The first time I went to Tehran, Iran, was in September 1972. Two of us went there to negotiate a partnership agreement with an Iranian firm. We had been there for a couple of days working out of our hotel room and at our prospective partner's offices, when he asked us over for dinner one evening.
He sent a car over to pick us up. We drove down the avenue for a few miles and turned off onto a little side street. It was just a gravel path really, with barely enough room for a car to drive through without running into the people walking or sitting on the dusty road. We were still inside the city of Tehran.
There were women carrying home their groceries on top of their heads and a few beggars sitting on the side of the road. After a few minutes, we stopped in front of a massive iron gate with a brass plaque on one of the posts, showing who lived there. A servant came to open the gate, and we drove onto the driveway. There in front of us was a huge, palatial home, with an acre of beautiful gardens, flowering shrubs, a pool, water fountains, places to sit, and soft music in the background. There were festive lights and tables laid out with all the goods of the earth. Outside the gate, there were the poor people and the beggars walking on the dusty road. What a contrast!
I found the description of this event in one of my old files and it reminded me of the parable that Jesus told.
Luke 16:19-22 – There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. (NKJV)
Jesus went on to say that, besides water to cool his tongue, the rich man's one desire was that his brothers would be told about faith, lest they come to the same end.
There certainly is the need for food for many people in the world today, but there is also a greater need among so many people for spiritual food, even and especially among people close to home. My friend and I concluded that we are so inadequate.
How about you? We need to pray that God will equip us to be much bolder in sharing our faith in Jesus.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray that You would encourage us and give us the ability and the strength to help the poor, and the poor in spirit. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Good words for today, Joel.
Great reminder, Joel. Many thanks and blessings!
Amen Joel! Thanks for a good word today.
Thanks, Joel. It’s a great need and sometimes hard to figure out how to meet it.
Definitely agree. I find it hard to share my faith with those closest to me, and yet know it is so important. Please pray for us ‘wannabes’ who lack courage!
True, Joel, very true. Widowers were important to Stephen and yet there are no groups giving attention to those in need. And being a new widower, it is not a chore around the house needed, it is a phone call, a hug, a text. Friendship. Because their best friend is gone.
Many thanks for your devotional writing this morning. That parable in Luke speaks volumes and yes, we must be mindful that we must not only be willing to nourish the bodies of poor people but be ready to nourish the spirit also.
Powerful words to pray for. Yet, when we pray to help the poor and share God’s message, and our faith, are we walking the talk? May our Heavenly Father open our eyes and search our hearts that we are indeed worthy and without judgment to help and share Jesus’ example of love… Words in action.
Dear Joel, thanks for sharing that 1972 experience; since about that time we have served in missions in four countries in Latin America and seen so much of what your story relates.
Just yesterday I came on a resource that I hope gets wide exposure/use in the Christian community.
“Grace and peace,”
As a life-long Presbyterian I am forced to admit that speaking to others about our God is not emphasized… or not when I was growing up. It seems that for me being kind to others and doing for others is how I witness. Having said that we live in a small town and I know there are nonbelievers out there, but they are not in evidence. It is a very church-oriented place.
We just celebrated our Thanksgiving in the US. All our family save the two married grandchildren were with us…a sign of things to come I am sure.
As Advent approaches, I wish for you and those you love a most blessed Christmas.
Thank you for your devotional, “The Poor Among us”.
God bless you as you continue to write for Him!