Devotional thoughts tagged as: 'poverty'

Christian Caring

I was a tent mother for a group of third and fourth graders during one of our church's marketplace Vacation Bible schools. In this program we recreate a scene as it might have looked in first century Jerusalem to give the children a sense of what life was back then. We had various market vendors, potters, weavers and even street beggars.

One day as we left the synagogue following worship, beggars approached us asking for money. Most of the children gave coins they had made earlier in the week. But one boy, after observing the situation ran to our family tent and came back with his lunch. Giving it to the beggars, he told them his lunch was theirs to eat.

This boy, new to our congregation, had earlier experienced years of physical and emotional abuse. He now had a loving family caring for him, and the message of Christian caring had taken root in his young heart.

Joyce Coleman
Floyds Knobb, Indiana

This devotional thought was taken from the book Small Wonders: Children's Faith Stories from the Indiana United Methodist Church, compiled and edited by Lynne DeMichele.

What is a Mature Faith?

If we have a lot of money or we want a lot of money then we need to ask for God's grace to give up our love of that money to the exclusion of using it to love and bless others.

If we do not have enough money or we are angry at those who have a lot, we need God's grace to overcome our lack of trust in God to provide and to overcome our anger which hurts only ourselves.

This does not mean we stop working to help the poor and the way to deal with economic disparity. What it does mean is we need to stop seeing people as oppressors or victims. After all, Jesus healed and saved both the rich and the poor. He did not favor one group over another. He was ruler of all people.

What is a Family?

In The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck the focus is on the plight of the poor families during the dust bowl days. It shows how the concept of the family enlarged during this period of crisis. Steinbeck tells this story using the Joad family's trials and challenges.

At the end of the book, the Joad family has been torn apart. The authority of the father was replaced with the leadership of Mrs. Joad and she, in turn, had her authority taken away by the younger generation. This turn of affairs leads to a different understanding of what it means to be a family They established bonds of kinship with other migrant families.

The Joads merge with the Wainrights and Wilsons because each family needs the other. The members do not share last names but they give support and sustenance to each in the form of food, blankets and a kind word.

Jesus redefined the concept of family by saying "Whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:50)

How do you define family? What does it mean to be part of the family of God?

Being a Responsible Father

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
1 Timothy 5:8

Fathers have a responsibility to take care of their children. It saddens me when I read about the number of fathers who do not financially support their families.

When you become an adult you realize your choices have short and long term consequences.

So many children live in poverty that would not have to be if their fathers would take responsibility for being a parent.

What Do You See in the Face of Jesus?

The Lord has anointed me, he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.
Isaiah 61:1

This verse touches the spiritual dimension of all social concerns. The hunger of the poor, torture of people, the threat of war and all other immense human suffering. Yet in all this agony, we need to see the face of Jesus working to teach us the love of God, a love that reconciles, heals and unites. Help be the face of Jesus in your church, through its mission work.

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