Yesterday in a corner of the school playground, David and some friends witnessed a crow about to devour a mouse. They yelled wildly so that the bird flew away, and saved the poor mouse's life. David was excited to retell this adventure, as we walked home from school, “It was my first time to see a mouse!” I'm not exactly sure how he felt about protecting that mouse, but it made me think about the vulnerable and God's word for us.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Proverbs 31:8
I think there has been no greater time in history than now, that those who have a voice need to speak on behalf of the voiceless. To stand with and for and beside those who need someone to advocate for them. To give protection to the unprotected. To restore basic human rights to those whose rights have been taken away. To notice the unnoticed. To care for the neglected. To pay attention to the vulnerable, and to chase away the crows as David did on the playground yesterday.
In a World Bank study conducted during the 1990's, people in poverty around the world described their own situation:
“For a poor person everything is terrible—illness, humiliation, shame. We are cripples; we are afraid of everything; we depend on everyone. No one needs us. We are like garbage that everyone wants to get rid of.” (Moldova)
“When one is poor, she has no say in public, she feels inferior. She has no food, so there is famine in her house, no clothing, and no progress in her family.” (Uganda)
“If you are hungry, you will always be hungry; if you are poor, you will always be poor.” (Vietnam)
(Published in Voices of the Poor, quoted in When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert)
"The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved." Mother Teresa
Bryant Myers describes the fundamental nature of poverty as “the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings.”
“By showing low-income people through our words, our actions, and most importantly our ears, that they are people with unique gifts and abilities, we can be part of helping them to recover their sense of dignity, even as we recover from our own sense of pride.” (When Helping Hurts)
“The goal is to see people restored to being what God created them to be, people who understand that they are created in the image of God with the gifts, abilities, and capacities to make decisions, and to effect change in the world around them; and people who steward their lives, communities, resources, and relationships in order to bring glory to God.” (When Helping Hurts)
“The image of God, then, is the first great motivation for living lives of generous justice, serving the needs and guarding the rights of those around us. It brings humility before the greatness of each human being made and loved by God.” (Timothy Keller, Generous Justice)
Who can you speak up for?