“Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives”.
Isa 58:7 GNB
People do many things out of a sense of religious duty. Some sing. Some talk or preach. Some bake cakes and raise funds. Some play musical instruments. Some pray. Some get up at times during the night in order to pray and hold services at set times. Some compose music. Some paint pictures. Some visit prisons. Others visit hospitals. Some study for long periods and become authorities in various aspects of religion. Some care for orphans. Some serve on committees. Some go out to far distant countries as missionaries. Some keep books and look after the money of religious institutions. Some take part in huge gatherings and get worked up into states of euphoria. Others try to convert people to their form of religion.
Isaiah left nobody in any doubt as to what he believed God wanted of the returned exiles in Jerusalem. He wanted them to help the poor and hungry. Jerusalem was a very unsettled place. Most of its buildings had been destroyed in the Babylonian invasion. The economy had been devastated and had left many previously employed people destitute. Poverty was everywhere. It was going to take a long time to get back to normal again. “Help those in need” was God’s message – his direct, unmistakable command. Whatever other duties people did, helping the poor was paramount. Their faith in God would be demonstrated by their compassion. It is inescapable.
It is still God’s direct command. You cannot love God if you don’t love your fellow human beings. Make a habit of it. Start now – today.
Lord, prompt me to demonstrate compassion to the poor.