The radical demands of the gospel constantly confront me. For instance, it tells me that if I’ve understood God’s grace to me, that should be seen in my acts of grace towards others. God’s generosity and care to me should be reflected in my generosity and care to others. Nowhere does the Bible make this demand clearer than in our relationship with the poor.
God warned his people that religious activity (like turning up to church) doesn’t impress him. “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them…?” (Isaiah 58:6-7).
God’s heart is for the poor and the oppressed. A lack of care for the poor and the oppressed is a sign that our hearts are not right with God at all. God’s concerns have not become our concerns.
The 10th of October is a day set apart for all Christians in Hong Kong to pray for the poor and consider our care for them. St Andrew’s is involved with the Hong Kong Church Network for the Poor (HKCNP). HKCNP is a network of community partners collaborating to care for the poor to achieve community transformation. It focuses on identifying needs in HK and developing initiatives and programs to respond to those needs. More information can be found here at hkcnp.org.hk.
As a church, St Andrew’s seeks to partner with organisations in caring for the poor through financial support, prayer, and volunteering. We also want to raise awareness of the needs of the poor and continually challenge ourselves to consider what more we can do with what God has given us.
What about you? What can you do for the poor? The first step is always to pray, to ask God to have his heart and to see the needs around you. The next step is to identify an area where you can make a difference. Maybe it’s through donating directly, or volunteering through one of our partner organisations that reach the poor, like St Barnabas’ Home and Society, or Christian Action Centre for Refugees, or Inner City Ministries.
In the gospel, we’re told that we were spiritually poor, wretched, and destitute, but through Christ, God has made us rich in him (2 Corinthians 8:9).