Some of you might know that I teach online classes for the Christian university that we graduated from. Lately I've been grading discussion board posts about children that are malnourished, and it's really been moving.
Did you know that under-nutrition accounts for more than half of the deaths of children under the age of 5? That's awful! The class text book says the main causes of child mortality are pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. Malnutrition is an underlying factor in many of these deaths.
As Christians, we are admonished by Scripture to reach out to the poor. In Deuteronomy 15:11 we're told "For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'" Many other Scriptures encourage meeting the needs of the poor as well. Luke 3:11 says "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same." I John 3:17-18 really gets me -- "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."
I've been encouraged to find out that several of my students sponsor a child through Compassion International, a great organization. One student talked about going door to door with a collection box for UNICEF at Halloween. Another shared the website freerice.com, where 10 grams of rice are donated through the World Food Programme when you answer a trivia question correctly.
The Bible tells us that Christians have a responsibility to help those who are in need. How much more do Christians in America bear that responsibility? God have given to us in abundance, and not just so that we can hoard it for ourselves or find more things to buy that may materially enrich our own lives for a short time.
But get this -- God not only tells us to help the poor, He tells us that we'll be blessed when we do. Proverbs 19:17 says "Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed." Proverbs 22:9 says "Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor."
So how about us? What can we do to help?