When you come across people who are in need, do you respond to them as Jesus would?
Our flesh does not want to help people in need, so we often avoid rather than respond with care and compassion as Jesus did. Pastor David Crosby points out that this is especially true as it relates to caring for people who are experiencing poverty. He refers to James 2:6,
“The Bible does warn us not to despise the poor. It’s a very specific word to us from the Old Covenant.”
“It’s easy for us to fall into an attitude that despises the poor; that doesn’t want to deal with sickness. That see’s sick people as reaping the results of their own actions, and sort of blames them for their sickness, or sees them almost as unclean.”
As followers of Christ, we are called to put the needs of others ahead of our own and treat others with respect and dignity. We can learn more about how Jesus expressed care and compassion for others by reflecting on Matthew 11:3-5.
“When Jesus was asked ‘Are you the one?’ His response was, ‘The blind are seeing, the lame are walking and the poor have the gospel preached to them.’”
“As He gave His credentials for being the promised one, they really revolved around people who had needs; whether they were blind, lame and included the poor.”
Caring for people in need is the foundation of the Christian faith. Pastor Crosby elaborates,
“I would say that’s a very consistent instruction in Scripture; something that we don’t need to ignore, but we need to embrace. God is honored when we care for those in need. When you love your neighbor as you love yourself, you are pleasing the Father in Heaven who gave us that command.”
By caring for others, it will please our Father in Heaven and we will be blessed as a result.
“I think that ought to be encouragement to every Christian who is contemplating their own life, their behavior, their Christian lifestyle, etc., to know that caring for those in need is just basic – that’s foundational.”
As we extend care, love and compassion of Christ to those in need, we become a part of the healing process and learn how to put others before ourselves.
“A part of the healing process for us is to get beyond ourselves, to care for that person who is hurting and to help bind up their wounds. As we do so, somehow the love of God pours through us and not only ministers to that hurting person, but actually ministers even more so to us.”
David Crosby, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church New Orleans, was there for the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. He has counseled countless individuals through a myriad of suffering, including one of the nation’s most horrific natural disasters, Hurricane Katrina. David is the founder and president of the Baptist Crossroads Project that has built 91 homes in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans in a partnership with Habitat for Humanity.