Remembering the Poor
Written by Ps Zheng Haoren
“Is the support going to be monthly?” This innocent question from a Session member hit me. He was responding to a proposal on food relief using our Covid-19 Mission Relief Fund. An elderly pastor from a poor country had made an appeal to provide 80 poor families with 25kg of rice each. “It’s a one-time relief aid for this appeal” was my reply.
How long do you think 25kg of rice would last for a family of six? Under the current pandemic, our field contacts advised that families in impoverished regions would do their utmost to stretch such a precious quantity over 1.5-3 weeks. Okay, so what would happen to them next month? I do not know. That was what hit me – the thought of uncertainty, hunger, sickness, and despair looming large before these families. Our help really feels like five loaves of bread and two fish.
In another poor country where only 40 pax are permitted for in-person Church Services, very few congregants are returning because of the ongoing high infection rates. Tithes and offerings have dwindled to a trickle. And the effects of declining church giving are being felt. As these communities are poor, there is very little to go around. With electronic funds transfer not even heard of, it is reported that pastors are having to go from house-to-house to collect the offerings.
“and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me (Paul), they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do”, Galatians 2:9-10.
Yes, in this global pandemic, God is once again issuing a call to Christians everywhere to remember the poor with any amount of means to help. And this call also extends beyond the church’s boundaries into the unbelieving world.
A believer from yet another poor nation confessed the sin of losing her temper with someone as she struggled to cope with the needs around her. She also shared about her deep trust in Jesus to provide for their needs. She told of opportunities she had to pray with neighbours and share the Gospel hope with them. She is carrying on the great tradition of our Lord and centuries of Christian witness. If she can remember the poor, so can we all. May the Lord multiply the little that we are giving!