Psalm 72:13-14
“He will take pity on the poor and needy; the lives of the needy he will save. From harm and violence he will defend them; he will VALUE their LIVES.”

My heart is gripped whenever I am driving downtown and see, yet again, a lonesome figure standing on a corner, pleading for help. I know what it is to lose my home, to seemingly lose everything. The compassion for these people who have stories of their own washes over me. At the same time, I struggle with how to help them and wonder what got them there and if helping them monetarily will really be a blessing.

This Psalm written by David to his Son, Solomon, speaks of the rule of Solomon, and is a foreshadowing of what the Messiah’s reign will be like, as well. I am struck by the last words in verse 14 which speaks of valuing their lives. In a culture where abortions are on demand, girls are sold into the sex trade, and the sick or handicapped are viewed sometimes as less, we have forgotten that each human being is valued. From an elderly person sick in a hospital bed to a baby in the womb or a homeless individual on the street, each one is precious in God’s sight and of significant value: God died and gave His own blood for each one.

Identifying the need can be problematic. A sign held by weary hands might specify that money or food is the need, but the root of the problem is not so easy to solve. I want to help in a way that is lasting. Instead, I often do nothing – unsure how my contribution can make a lasting impact. Sure, I have made lunches and handed them out to complete strangers, given cash away to people in need, but I want to responsibly give, and not just out of guilt.

While helping the poor among us is a command, it can be complex in a day and age like this. Recently, however, I believe the Lord finally showed me a way I can do this responsibly. A friend had handy gift cards in her purse, ready to help someone she saw in need. She said that CVS and Walgreen’s do not permit gift cards to be used to buy alcohol or cigarettes. Wow – this was such a blessing for me to witness. Then the Lord gave me an idea – the poor and the rich have the same poverty – a poverty of soul. To merely feed someone for a meal would not last through the day, but to provide physical and spiritual provision might have a lasting impact for eternity.

So now I carry a couple of gift cards, $5 each, with a Scripture and a note in an envelope. I do not usually blog about topics like this, but felt that this idea could impact a population if many people set out to do it. We will always have the poor among us – may we be the hands and feet of Christ and not grow weary in well doing. Who knows? Some soul wandering the streets might be on their last day, trying to find a reason to hope. Let’s be that light and keep our hearts tender for each precious life God has pass our way.

Lord, please help us to not grow apathetic. So many people are wounded and losing hope. Make yourself real through your people. Heal our land and be glorified in all we do – may it be an offering to you!

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