Giving Out of Poverty
When I read the following letter addressed to World Hope International a few weeks ago, I was stunned, humbled, and blessed all at the same time.
Dear Servants of the Lord,
The residents of the Lighthouse Outreach Center are sending this donation of $650 to help with relief efforts in Haiti. We are a homeless shelter and sponsor four children through World Hope. This money comes from the residents. No operating funds are used for this cause or helping sponsor the children monthly.
Thanks for all you do to help those in need around the world.
The first thought that flashed through my mind was that of the words of Jesus when he was with the more affluent people, watching them publicly put in their money for all to see. Then a poor widow came by and put her money in the plate, far less than what the affluent people gave. Jesus then said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” (Luke 21:1-4)
After that story flashed through my mind, I began to think of the people in Haiti to whom the people from the Lighthouse Outreach Center had given. Haitians were suffering from the earthquake with literally nothing—not even any shelter—and the people at this outreach center, experiencing homelessness themselves, were actively caring and loving out their own poverty. And they were donating in response to the earthquake on top of their monthly, faithful giving to ensure children have access to an education. The residents of the Lighthouse Outreach Center are already part of World Hope International’s child sponsorship program, gifting children the opportunity for education. Again, giving out of their poverty to those with even less opportunity.
Frankly, there have been many sermons preached on those words of Jesus. We give honor to the widow, but then return home and go about our own business. I wonder what would happen to the world as we seek to eradicate hunger and poverty – certainly something possible in this world today – if we truly lived out the words of Jesus. If we continued to be reminded of the people at the Lighthouse Outreach Center and those like them, and if we pondered and acted on the words of scripture, overflowing with verses like, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Proverbs 19:17) Frankly, there are over 3,000 verses in the scriptures about giving to those less fortunate!
When I was a kid, we used to say, “I double dog dare you to…” So today, I ask you: what about taking one of these “dares” in your giving in the next few weeks and then see what all God may do?
I am taking the challenge in a new way myself, inspired and humbled by the generosity and faith of the widow, of the residents of a homeless shelter, and by others who lead, with love, in faith and hope and action.
To support these efforts, you can make a gift to The Hope Fund, which allows us to respond where and when it matters and continue projects centered on clean water & energy, protection, global health, and social enterprises.