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 him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

For many years, I read this passage without responding to it personally. I would read it and then move on to the rest of my Bible reading without taking any action steps. It was just another verse of Scripture. Then one day, the Holy Spirit asked me a question: “Os, how are you ministering to the poor in My name?” It was a very convicting question.
As I began to ponder the matter, I realized that I had no specific focus on the poor in my workplace ministry. Sure, I gave to a local church that often gave to the poor, and I may have given a donation to the needy here or there. However, I was not directly involved in any specific activity that served the poor. God was challenging me to change this in my life.
I began praying about this, and soon God connected me with a Christian leader in the nation of Uganda. I had never been to a third-world nation, nor had I ever seen poverty up close and personal. I decided that this was God’s answer to my prayer.
Paying all my own expenses, I traveled to Uganda. I visited the camps where thousands of people came to live—having abandoned their lands because of a 20-year rebel war. Even children had been killed and maimed in the fighting. During my stay, I experienced limited access to electricity and other basic amenities we take for granted in the West. The way of life in Uganda was a stark contrast to how so many people in North America live.
The Lord does not ask us to give what we don’t have. However, I do believe that each of us should ask God what we have to offer. That is what Elisha asked of the widow in 2 Kings 4:2—and God performed a miracle through what she had.
Ask God today what you have in your hand that you can give to the poor.

Hillman, O. (2011). Tgif: today god is first. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.

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