Our relationship with God, with our self, with others, and the rest of creation is not what it was created to be. The Fall of mankind (Gen. 3) has brought pain and brokenness into all these relationships, affecting us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. That problem is compounded by our broken economic, social, religious and political systems.
God has incredible love for His poor and broken creatures. God’s heart is to restore broken people and redeem broken systems. His desire is to bring justice and salvation and peace as far as the curse is found. This began through redeeming a people out of unjust slavery in Egypt to be his special possession. Having been saved by grace, they were given new laws and structures to ensure people were cared for. God’s people were to display the same mercy they received to one another, as well as others around them.
This continued as Jesus came both proclaiming and demonstrating the kingdom (reign and rule) of God. He came not to be served, but to serve and care and bring real restoration and healing to those areas of broken relationships and systems. He ultimately did this by taking the sin and curse of those who believe upon Himself on the cross and triumphing over it by raising from the dead. Those who receive Christ also receive a new heart. We want to see redemption go out to others. We want to see cultural systems changed so all people in our community can thrive. Every Christian is called in some way to love others by caring for their needs (Luke 10:27,37), for we desire to see others feel the same love and care we have received.
The Call to Care: In the Biblical Narrative
Deuteronomy 15:7-8 - “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, 8 but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.
Psalm 82:3-4 - Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Proverbs 19:17 - Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.
Isaiah 58:6-7,10 - “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? …10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
Jeremiah 22:15-16 - Do you think you are a king because you compete in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me declares the LORD.
Micah 6:8 - He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Matthew 4:23 (see also 9:35; 10:1) And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.
Matthew 5:7 - “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Mark 10:45 - For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Luke 10:36-37 - Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Acts 2:44-45 - And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
Galatians 6:2 - Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:9-10 - And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
1Thessalonians 5:15 - See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
Hebrews 13:16 - Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
James 1:27 - Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
1 Peter 4:10 - As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
1 John 3:17-18 - But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.