Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. –Psalm 82:3
Driving through Lagos, Nigeria–one of the largest cities in the world–was quite an adventure. Driving through the traffic of the busy roads was like walking through a swap meet. Hundreds of people stationed themselves on these busy city streets doing their best to offer their goods to travelers passing by in order to make their livings. The longer we rode in the car, the less I looked out my window, keeping my eyes looking forward.
On one particularly slow traffic day (it took an hour to drive two miles), the amount of people that came by our car was uncountable. It is easy to say “no” again and again for goods you don’t want or need, but it is much harder to say “no” to the small child who knocks on your window asking for money for food, to the crippled man on a skateboard rolling between cars hoping someone will give him some money, or the young girl who walked a blind gentleman past the car and asked if we could spare some change. Stories like these are commonplace in Lagos and all over the world. It got so bad that, at one point, I simply closed my eyes because I couldn’t look anymore.
It is easy to feel helpless to the woes of the world. There are so many needy people all around us. But, the answer is not to live a life doing what I did in the car that day. We should not shut our eyes to the sorrows and the needs of those who are oppressed and in need. As Christians, we are called to reach out to those who have nothing and to serve others without expectation of repayment. The Bible tells us to defend the weak and maintain the rights of the poor.
Although it is not realistic for people to hand money to each person they pass, there are things we can do. First, open your eyes. Be ready when the Lord provides an opportunity to help someone. Second, do your part. Alone, none of us will solve the world’s poverty. But together, each of us doing our part through volunteering or giving, we can help make a difference in the lives of those we come in contact with. Don’t shut your eyes, as I did in Lagos, because it feels overwhelming. Rather, open them to see that the Lord gave each of us the power to give back, no matter our circumstances.
1. What are you doing to help the poor in your community?
2. How can you make sure you keep your eyes open to the work the Lord has for you to do with His people?
1 Samuel 2:8; Proverbs 19:17; Luke 14:7-14