“‘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)
Perhaps you read the Bible daily, are in a small group, or read daily devotionals as a means to connect with the Lord. When we speak of how to know the Lord better, one way not mentioned as often as others is serving the poor, needy, widowed, and downtrodden. For many, this may be 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 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 once quoted as saying, “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.
1. Why is it important for your spiritual walk to serve the poor and needy?
2. Sometimes it can be hard to find the time to serve. How can you commit and do a few small things serving those in need in your community?
Proverbs 14:31; Psalm 113:7-8; Matthew 25:31-46