04/05/2022 by Rev. Doug Walker 0 Comments
A Historical Mission
As seen in the HEARTbeat and the Village Voice
“A Historical Mission”
I will begin this short article in a different way this week, and that is with a question: Whose job is it to care for the needy? I can already feel many people have put the paper down or have jumped to another article. To answer this question requires a little soul searching, and what we find sometimes is uncomfortable.
My father grew up in a large family in central “dust bowl” Oklahoma. He was one of seven siblings who lived and worked on a farm owned by a Native American. His dad went anywhere there was work because my father was born in the middle of the depression. My grandmother stayed on the farm, managed the kids and the work while my grandfather worked in the oilfields of west Texas. He’d send money home and keep just enough for him to get by. Times were hard.
My father told me of a time when his two cousins came to live with them. You see, my grandmother came from a large family as well. She was the oldest child, and when her parents died there were still two siblings living at home. Those two youngsters came to live with my dad’s family, making it nine children living under one, small roof. Back then family looked out after family.
This trend goes way back in history. It wasn’t until the origin of the New Deal did the government begin providing for those who were destitute. It was during this time the welfare program was initiated under President Roosevelt for the first time in history. The shift of taking care of the needy was moving from family to government.
Even though these programs are still in existence today, and have been expanded since their inception, the role of the church has not changed for thousands of years. Its role is to see to the needy, the poor, the widows, and the orphans. Through the prophet Malachi, God told the nation of Israel to bring in the whole tithe, a tenth of their produce to the temple so there will always be food to help the needy.
This mission for the church was needed then, and it is still needed today. Foodbanks are huge enterprises and feed thousands of people. Food boxes outside of churches began to appear in the last decade to address the needs of the local people. Drive-through food pantries are at most churches in some form or fashion in the larger metropolitan areas.
We are a blessed people. Luke 12:48b gives us our modern-day marching orders as Christians: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” As a pastor friend of mine says, “We are blessed so we can be a blessing.” God will bless us bountifully when we obey His Word. Give, and you shall be blessed even more. Remember, it is impossible to out give God!