Matthew 25:34-46 says, “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’”
How one obtains riches and how one uses riches is a litmus test–see Matthew 25:31-46.
Did you know that 35% of people do not control enough money to buy food to sustain themselves until the end of the month?
Physical poverty is real, but poverty does not directly impact my life. So it is not something that I think about. Thus I need to look into relieving poverty in those around me.
Yesterday a student came in late to class and looked a bit disheveled. His mother dropped him off to live permanently with the father at the start of winter break. When he walked in late, I automatically asked how is your dad? How are you? He said, “I am not allowed to talk about that.” His spirit seemed a bit anxious as he poured down a carton of orange juice. I didn’t expect an answer.
Yesterday, I sent two of my students back to class at the end of the day. They both had torn backpacks the size of a grapefruit with books coming out the corners of their bags. I usually see the children without their backpacks. Many of my students suffer right around me due to poverty and hunger.
I observed another two pick up their lunches and refuse to eat the bun and tuna with some carrots, perhaps a cup with some type of fruit and milk. One child said I’m allergic to tuna because he probably needed an excuse to dump it in front of me. I am not aware of him having any food allergies on record. They walked to the trash can in unison and dumped their plates running off to play. This happens unfortunately happens everyday. The unappetizing food gets dumped and students go hungry.
These same students participate in the after school program. One usually is picked up at 6 pm everyday. So these children may skip breakfast, lunch and snack time at 2:30 pm. They go hungry. How does poverty impact them?
One year a parent asked me a few weeks before Christmas or winter break to purchase a coat for her daughter with autism. The mother at various times in her life lived in homeless shelters or on the street with her two girls. I spoke to the principal regarding the matter. Then I spoke to my brother and sister-in-law with two daughters a little older than these girls. They packed up several coats and clothes that the kids could no longer wear for me to take to the single mother. In all, I carried about three bags of clothing over and several coats filling up my back seat with a few items in my trunk. I, also, informed my assistants of the need. They gladly offered to help. My assistants and I bought her clothing, shoes, socks and other items for presents. The principal gave the mom a $50 gift card for Burlington Coat Factory provided by our district as well as school uniforms, a new backpack and school supplies following winter break. The mother thanked us and the daughter now smiled and looked truly happy when she smiled at school.
When a brother or sister needs help (adult or child), we must see their need and respond. If we cannot help, we can inform others who may want to help. We need to take a hard look at how we gain and use our cash. God will ask us one day, did you help the least of these my brethren? How will you respond? Why must you be prepared?