Skip to main content

The poor are our relatives

share your food with the hungry… provide the poor wanderer with shelter… when you see the naked, clothe him… do not to turn away from your own flesh and blood*   A little while ago, the Lord showed me that some good friends who are going through a time of testing are not just fr…
By Seth Barnes

share your food with the hungry…
provide
the poor wanderer with shelter…
when you see the naked, clothe him…

do not to turn away from your own flesh and blood*

 
A little while ago, the Lord showed me that some good friends who are going through a time of testing are not just friends – they are flesh and blood, family.  We need to treat them as family. 
 
God was telling me that I have too many walls in my life, too many locked doors.  I needed to do what this verse says, considering the poor wanderer as my flesh and blood family member.
 

God doesn’t ask me or you  to assess the motives of the homeless,
hungry, and naked.  The fact is, they very likely may be trying to scam
us; but no matter.  They are broken just like we are.  When we lay eyes
on them, we are told to respond.  We are told elsewhere that it’s God’s
job to judge the heart.  It’s our job to make the compassion that He
feels tangible – to put legs on it.
 

It’s a messy ministry, but it’s the one that Jesus wants us to embrace.
 

So in Isaiah 58, God addresses the opportunities to give that we ignored.  All of us who have food or shelter have something to offer the hungry or homeless.  Those with clothes need to share them.  And, perhaps most importantly, we can posture ourselves with hearts of warmth and openness. 
 
Our reaction to the needy may be to want to avoid them, but we are told to not turn away; we are connected to these people.  We share our humanity; we have the same blood flowing in our veins.  To turn away from them is to deny our best selves. 

 

How many times do we drive by the homeless man with the sign proclaiming his need?  Do we think to ourselves, “He’ll just use money on booze”?  If so, we’re missing the point!  We are that man’s divine safety net!  We are God’s plan for his care.
 
I got an email describing the plight of one of young girl who illustrates this point.  Busi was a six-year old girl in Swaziland who has suffered more than anyone should ever suffer.  Some co-workers of mine met her in the hospital.  She had third degree burns on more than 40% of her body.  The scar tissue fused her limbs, leaving her almost immobile.  She needed extensive skin grafting and reconstruction.  During her time in the hospital, both her parents died of AIDS.  God says not to turn away from Busi, our flesh and blood.  One of my precious spiritual family members took God at His word and adopted her.
 

We read about Africans dying of AIDS in our newspapers, but the need seems so remote.  God says that these people are our relatives, our own flesh and blood.  We mustn’t turn away – we’ve been commanded to help.
 
*Isaiah 58:7 

Comments (7)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *