Hope For the Poor
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1).
Jesus quoted these words from the prophet Isaiah because they had meaning for people in the time he was on the earth. Likewise, these words have significance for us today. We are all called to be ambassadors to the poor and the hurting.
Who are the poor? Corbett and Fikkert, in their excellent book, When Helping Hurts, suggest that there are four types of poverty.
• Poverty of being
• Poverty of community
• Poverty of stewardship
• Poverty of spiritual intimacy
The point is that we are all broken in one sense or another. Until we face this fact, we will be unable to effectively share the love of Christ. I suggest three steps to bring Jesus to others.
1. Humble ourselves
Corbett and Fikkert said, “until we face our mutual brokenness, our work with low-income people is likely to do far more harm than good.” Why? Because we often view the poor as somehow inferior to us, when we all experience some kind of poverty. The answer is to humble ourselves before God and others.
2. Recognize our mission to reconcile others
Paul explained the ministry of reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19.
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” Just as we have been reconciled to God through Christ, we have been given the charge to reconcile others. Everyone needs the blessing of restoration.
3. Intentionally develop relationships with people who are hurting
Building relationships with others is the most vital ingredient in making disciples. Working in soup kitchens or handing out clothing is good; but the lasting impact comes from intentionally developing relationships with hurting people. This takes time, energy, and a commitment to the process of mentoring others. If you need training in how to do this, there are organizations that can train you, such as Celebrate Recovery and Love Inc.