Along with the cold, for many people, comes financial hardship at this time of year. With electricity prices rising, the price of basic food and day-to-day items soaring, many people find it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. There can be a tendency in our culture to say “let’s give a hand up, not a hand out”…and this can be a good thing – when it happens! However, the reality is that so often people go without either a hand up or a hand out and have to make it through life in very hard circumstances.
A couple of weeks ago I read an article that came out of research from the University of Waikato (can be found on our FB group). The article says that, “According to the OECD at least one in five New Zealand children live in severe or significant hardship…”. Researcher Professor Hodgetts of the University is quoted as saying that, “New Zealand had gone from one of the most equitable societies – in terms of income distribution – to one of the worst. And the cracks are getting bigger...”
As Christians, how seriously do we take these issues? What is our God-driven response to such challenges? For me this is not a political issue, it’s a human one. How do we respond to people within our own fellowship who come against hard times? (maybe you or I are "that person"?) How do we respond to the person who we bump into on the street or who comes to Church looking for assistance?
Jesus says “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Philip Yancey in his book “The Jesus I Never Knew” writes: “One commentary translates that ‘Blessed are the desperate.’ With no-where to turn, the desperate just may turn to Jesus, the only one who can offer the deliverance they long for.” (p. 114)
So as we sit in front of the fire place let’s consider those who don’t have any wood for the fire. Let’s consider the opportunity we have to share the love of Jesus with others, and the possibility that they may just find the life of this Jesus that we talk about, lived out in our actions too.
Pastor David Auty