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“Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord.”
Jeremiah was speaking to the son of Josiah, who had moved up to his father’s place as king of Judah. Josiah’s son had not carried on the righteous things that his father had done while king: Tending and defending the poor and needy. Josiah didn’t have to do this; these people were very far below the king and he could designate others to take care of the poor. But the king chose to care about the people that the Lord cared about.
Jesus did the same thing during his ministry on earth, he chose to care for the poor and needy, the sick and weak that needed someone strong to defend and protect them. He surrounded himself with those who needed a healer; whether the need was physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. He was able to meet all their needs with just a few words or deeds.
God cares for all of us, but seems to have a special place in his heart for those who tend to be ignored or unprotected. He has all throughout scripture brought them to our minds as people who need attention and care. And along with this reminder came the knowledge that he blesses us for acknowledging all who need care and protection.
There are many ways that bring us closer to the Lord. We can read the Word, pray, serve in the church, give generously, but reaching out to help someone, your neighbor or co-worker who has a need that you can fill, this holds a special place in God’s heart.
Reaching out to help someone doesn't need to be an overt act, it can be a random act of kindness. Please look around you today and then ask yourself do you notice the single mother who may need a little help with food or diapers? Or how about the elderly couple who can't mow the lawn or pick up the trash that seems to appear in our yards. Or maybe it is someone closer to you whose need is more emotional, they are going through a divorce or loss of a loved one and just need someone to take a walk with.
We are all poor and needy at some time. Poor and needy doesn't just mean not enough money to buy food or pay rent but also poor in spirit from too many worries. It can mean poor emotionally because family is wearing you down.
We fall into two categories, we are either in need or able to provide a need. So where are you? Can you help someone? Or do you need help? If you are in need reach out to someone you can trust to be a good neighbor! Or if you can provide a need, look around to who you can be a good neighbor to. God's blessings come to all who are needy and look out for the needy. And knowing the Lord is the ultimate way to receive help.
Lisa Scarborough is executive director of Love in Action, Ketchikan.
Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.