The earliest Christians were basically poor. There were a few wealthy individuals, but the good news of Jesus was especially attractive to the down and out. Jesus went out of His way to minister to the poor and needy. Those who were ill received special attention. The earliest disciples of Jesus followed His example by reaching out to the hurting.
An interesting thing happened. Within generations, those who followed Jesus prospered. There is something about the life of Christ that encourages hard work, thriftiness, generosity, and the sort of characteristics that bring about a greater prosperity. Oh, I don’t mean every Christian ends up wealthy. That’s just not true. But there is definitely a trend of what we might call upward mobility over the generations for many Christian families in America.
The danger we often face is forgetting from whence we came. It is easy for us to forget that generations ago our families might have been those struggling just to make it. So God’s Word is filled with reminders that God is always watching out for the needy and the afflicted. He wants us to do so as well, for He has blessed us to be a blessing to others in physical, material and spiritual ways. If we would faithfully follow Jesus in this way, there would be no need for the government to take care of those in need. God wants His people to get serious about being His hands, feet and voice in our families, our communities and in our nation!
• Begin to pray for those you know who are hurting financially and physically, and ask God to show you how to respond.
• Pray for a humility and an outreach in the church toward those whom the Bible calls the least among us.
• Repent of any negative attitudes you may have had toward the poor or afflicted.
Father, I am so thankful that You do not show favoritism. Help me to be like You. Give me a compassion from You for those who are poor or afflicted in any way. Show me not only how to pray but how You might want me to follow my prayers with actions. Lord, please pour out that attitude upon all Your people. May Your church rise up in compassion and good deeds to minister to those who are hurting in every way in our nation. Forgive us, Lord, for allowing or expecting the government to do this work that really belongs to us.
–Adapted from Desperate for Change: 40 Days of Prayer for America by David Butts