The Wrong Way to Help the Poor?

I have yet to meet anyone who could argue that Christians shouldn’t care for the needy. However, in light of this there are many views within Christianity as to how this should be done. Much of it falls along political lines. Christians on the left believe we should help the poor at every opportunity. Christians on the right believe we should help the poor by encouraging them to get motivated, not by giving them handouts.

All of this got me thinking. How should we as Christians help the poor? Should work with organizations like the Salvation Army meeting the immediate needs of the poor? Should we volunteer at soup kitchens providing meals for the needy? All these seem good, but after the needs of the poor are immediately taken care of, they are still poor.

On the other hand some believe we should focus our attention on getting those in poverty out of poverty. Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life.

On the one hand, programs to help the poor long term often neglect the immediate needs. Programs geared toward the immediate need seem to do little to solve the long term problem. So, should Christians focus on the long term solution, or the immediate need?

My answer is simply yes! As Christians we have Biblical precedent to help the poor in their immediate need and to help remove them from poverty. It is kind of like the redemption process. First God saved us where we were, through us a life jacket. Then He began the process of redeeming us from destruction permanently, changing us from the inside out.

So when the question comes up about how we should help the poor, I would say in any way we can. There is no wrong way to help the needy. Look for opportunities to help long term and short term. Ultimately, just do something to help at all. That is more than most of us are doing. Stop making excuses and arguing about the best way to help, and find a way to help.

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