According to the latest statistics, over 840 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished. Every day, 26,000 young children die due to poverty, hunger, and preventable diseases. With so much of the world’s population in such lamentable condition, what’s a Christian to do? How should the Church respond?
Christians should respond to global poverty and hunger with compassion. Having true compassion for the needy, as modeled by Jesus (Mark 8:2), means we are aware of the need, we care about the people involved, and we are ready to act on their behalf. Having compassion on a needy brother is proof of the love of God within us (1 John 3:17). We honor God when we are kind to the needy (Proverbs 14:31).
Christians should respond to global poverty and hunger with action. Of course, prayer for those in need is something every Christian can do. Beyond that, Christians should do all they can to alleviate the suffering caused by global poverty and hunger. Jesus said, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. . . . For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:33-34). Like Tabitha, we should “always [be] doing good and helping the poor” (Acts 9:36).
The believer who selflessly gives to the poor will be blessed by God. “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, / and he will reward him for what he has done” (Proverbs 19:17). These divine blessings may be spiritual rather than material, but a reward is guaranteed—giving to the poor is an investment in eternity.
There are several Christian relief organizations that work not only to combat global poverty and hunger, but also to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Groups such as Compassion International strive to meet the needs of the total person, both physical and spiritual.
Christians should respond to global poverty and hunger with hope. Believers can act on behalf of the poor with the confidence that they are helping further God’s work in the world: “I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor / and upholds the cause of the needy” (Psalm 140:12). Believers labor with the hope that Jesus will return, and “with righteousness he will judge the needy, / with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth” (Isaiah 11:4).
Until that day of ultimate equity, Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you” (Matthew 26:11). That being the case, we have unlimited opportunities—and the urgent obligation—to serve the Lord by serving others.