CHRISTIANITY IS ABOUT showing concern for the poor

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In a village of 200 families, you will find a boy or girl who did well in their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education but has not reported to form one for lack of school fees. The parents or guardians are moving from one office to another looking for help; and help is scarce. They are praying without ceasing but their prayers are hitting a dead end.

This boy or girl may be in need of school fees of Ksh 25,000 and shopping worth Ksh 20,000. That’s what stands between them and an education. Forty-five thousand shillings could be all it takes to kill this child’s dream of becoming a surgeon or a teacher. Because of this money, this child will now most probably become a house help who then gets impregnated by a bodaboda rider who also did not go to school for lack of school fees, and the vicious cycle repeats itself.

And in that village, there are probably at least 100 families that have at minimum Ksh 5,000 each in their bank accounts. If they contributed Ksh 500 each, that would amount to Ksh 50,000. Enough to help this poor kid report to school! If this were the old Africa, such a problem would probably never arise. Those days, every child born in the village belonged to the village; they fed their children together, educated them together and guided them morally together. But today, these children will most probably not see the gate of a secondary school, at least not until they are 18 years and are going there to vote for the first time.

Christians are saving money for a “bad night” while a child is begging to go to school in broad daylight. What Christianity are we practicing? One that thinks about the problems of tomorrow and pretends not to see the problems in their neighbourhood today? Is it a Christianity that waits for happiness in heaven but one that cannot put a smile on a child’s face in this world?

“Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor” so says Proverbs 22:9. Do not think about a “bad night” if your cares for the day have been met. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Instead, share your abundance with the poor so that God will take care of your tomorrow. That God loves a cheerful giver is very true, such a person never lacks but “He who hides his eyes (so that you do not see the poor) will get many a curse,” says Proverbs 28:27.

I tell you friends, let us remember our poor. The only way to end poverty is not just to pray about it, but also to lift up one child from poverty through our generosity. Maybe you haven’t heard but somewhere around you is a very poor family that does not have a meal for the day. Somewhere around you is a child whose future is on the line because the parents cannot afford school fees or medical expenses. I beseech you; do what God demands of you:

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound…” Isaiah 61:1

This is the true calling of Christianity. It is not to give away only during Christmas or to just give offertory on Sunday. It is a daily calling to “bring the good news to the poor.” It is a calling to turn your eye towards that poor family or child and declare that their problems will be over. And then do something.

Connect with like-minded people and discuss the needs of these children and how best to help them. If in your neighbourhood there are no needy cases, look around in other places and you will find a child who will most definitely need your help. Go and “proclaim liberty” to them, and the “opening of the prison (poverty/disease) to those who are bound,” as God has commanded.

This is what Christianity is all about. That is the real way of the cross. Live it.

Published March 2016

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