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Caring for the poor isn’t easy—but it also doesn’t need to be overwhelming, at least when we recognize poverty from a biblical point of view. I explained in an earlier article that when we begin to see poverty the way the Bible does, we begin to see it as offering a number of practical opportunities to worship Jesus.

But how we will worship—how our concern will be expressed—will differ from one person to another. The expression of our concern neither reflects nor establishes our holiness before God. Our responsibility is only to serve in the way in which we feel compelled. With that in mind, here are five things you can do to help the poor that really do help:

1. Begin in the church and move from there.So, practically, this means a couple of things: service starts within our local congregations. “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” James wrote (James 2:15-16). If we a need is known in the church, we are actually obligated to meet it. Remember, the early church, motivated by their love of Christ and the grace God had shown them, lived an open-handed lifestyle, sharing all they had with one another (Acts 2:44-45).

I remember a number of years ago, my family was in pretty dire straits. We were drowning, financially, not because we had a lot of debt; we simply had very little income and too many expenses. One day, after church, one of the elders of our church came up to me and quietly handed me an envelope with more than enough money to help us meet a few significant needs that month. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about—it’s not showy acts; it’s recognizing needs and meeting them.

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