October 12


"For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress" (Isaiah 25:4, NKJV).

No portrait of Christ could depict more accurately His ministry to the poor and needy as this portrait by Isaiah. Whether they are poor in spirit or poor in material goods, the poor find their strength in Christ.

Christ's ministry on earth brought the good news of salvation to the poor. He declared, God "has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor" (Isaiah 61:1, NKJV). Our Lord's ministry to the poor covers three dimensions of time: (1) what He did during His earthly ministry, (2) what He is doing through His church, and (3) what He will do when He ultimately establishes the new world order free from poverty and want. Once Jesus exhorted His host at a feast, "When you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind" (Luke 14:13, NKJV). In these words Christ encouraged hospitality on the basis of need. He repeatedly identified with the poor, the underprivileged, and the down trodden.

In His teaching concerning the treatment of the poor, Jesus reaffirmed the Mosaic law that made it a duty for the haves to help provide for the needs of the have-nots (see Deuteronomy 14:29). The needy were not to be neglected. The early church was noted for its generous and unselfish treatment of the poor, the destitute, and the orphans (see Acts 2:45; 4:32). Through the church today, Jesus continues to be a strength to the poor. Ellen White adds: "Christ came to the earth to walk and work among the poor. To the poor He preached the gospel... and today in the person of His believing, working children, who move under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Christ visits the poor and needy, relieving want and alleviating suffering."--Medical Ministry, p. 243.

My Prayer Today: Lord, may I, like You, be a strength to the poor, materially as well as spiritually. Amen.