Give to the poor, help the needy, be generous….these are statements that we all know we should live by. However, we can so easily get wrapped up in our own day to day lives. Pay the bills, work down the “to do” list, keep up with our busy calendars….and before we know it days, weeks, or even years go by and we wonder if what we’re doing really matters.
I think our Christian lives can get that way too. Go to church, read the Bible, say a prayer…check, check, check. We drop into a routine and feel like we’re doing what we should be doing.
One of the passages that has been part of my recent bible study group’s reading is Isaiah 58:6-10
“This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. 7 What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. 8 Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. 9 Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’ A Full Life in the Emptiest of Places “If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins, 10 If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
In the passages prior to these the Israelites were basically saying to God, “Look at our fasting! Look at what we are doing! Why don’t you answer us?” God responds in a very straightforward manner; telling them exactly how they should be living.
It can become very easy to point to what we are so busy doing and say, “Look at this God! Look at what I’m doing for you” After all, I give money to my church, I attend every week, I volunteer regularly with different ministries. Isn’t that enough? While these are all good things, if that’s all there is to our Christian walk then we’ve missed the boat. God laid it out plainly in Isaiah.
These verses have really challenged me lately. They are one of the driving forces behind why I choose to become more involved in Compassion. I have seen what investing in the life of a child can yield. The benefits for the sponsored children are great, and the benefits to the heart and soul of the sponsor are immeasurable.
Do I get it right every time? No. But my perspective is changing, my views are being challenged, and I (along with my friends) are growing!