Did you know that worldwide about 842 million people are going hungry today? That’s 1 in every 8 people in the world, or more than 2 and a half times the population of the United States. Also, one in every 5 people in the world live on less than $1.25 a day. That’s less than most people spend on a cup of coffee. Yet, these people will spend most their money on feeding their families, with little left over to pay for clothes, school, health care, and shelter. The saddest statistic of all is that more than 18,000 children under the age of 5 die every day because of hunger. That’s enough kids to fill 200 large school buses. Think about this, every 10 seconds, a child dies.
So, who cares about the poor? God cares.
Isaiah 41:17 (NLT) When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched for thirst, then I, the Lord, will answer them.
God sees the needs of the poor
God sees the 884 million people in the world who lack access to safe drinkable water. He sees the 3.5 million people who die each year from water-related disease. He watches as girls walk over 3.5 miles each day to get drinkable water. When we have a drought in our area, it means we can’t water our lawns as often as we’d like. I think we get so self focused on our own needs sometimes that we don’t see the needs of others. Yet God’s heart goes out to to the poor and needy because he sees and cares about real thirsty and hungry people.
God meets the needs of the poor
God doesn’t do what most of us do, when we drive by the poor homeless man on the street or we watch those sad commercials on tv about the needy in other countries, and we think, “Oh, that’s so sad, those poor people”, but then we go on with the rest of our day not giving them another thought.
Psalm 140:12 (NIV) I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.
God sees the needs of the poor, then he goes on to meet the needs of the poor because he has a heart for them and he loves them.
God identifies himself with the poor
In Matthew chapter 25 Jesus used parables to tell his disciples about the kingdom of heaven. At the end of the chapter he painted this picture about what the final judgement will look like, in light of how we lived our life.
Matthew 25:35-40 “‘For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we every see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you were doing it to me!’” (NLT)
God has such a big heart for the poor that he identifies himself with them in the deepest way. He feels their hunger, he feels their thirst, he knows what if feels like to be lonely or to be sick and unable to care for themselves. He even knows what they are going through when they are locked up in prison. Then he goes on to say that when we feed someone or give them a drink, it’s just like feeding and caring for God himself. When we give the poor our clothes or visit strangers in the hospital or in prison, we are touching the very heart of God as well.
This is how much God cares for the poor, that he would even identify himself with meeting their deepest needs. This is God’s heart for the poor. Jesus said himself, that we will always have the poor among us, and if you look around the world, or even in your own city, you’ll see people in need. God not only sees the needs of the poor, he goes out and meets the needs of the poor, and because he loves them so much he even identifies himself with meeting the needs of the poor. That’s the heart of God.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- When have you or your family been in financial need? What do you imagine it feels like not knowing where you will get your next meal or that you may be evicted from your home?
- When have you been in need, but felt like nobody really cared? Read Isaiah 41:17. How does it make you feel to know that God sees you and cares about your life?
- What basic needs does God give you every day? When has God provided for you in a big way or answered your prayers in time of need?
- Read Psalm 140:12. Notice how God gets at the root of poverty. What are some reasons for poverty around the world and in our society? How can you ask God to cure the sins of our society that lead people into poverty?
- Read Matthew 25:31-41. How does God identify himself with the needy in these verses? Why do you think God has so much concern for the poor? How can you better identify with those in need?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.