Hope to Give

Again, I observed all the acts of oppression being done under the sun.Look at the tears of those who are oppressed; they have no one to comfort them. Power is with those who oppress them; they have no one to comfort them.      Ecclesiastes 4:1 (HCSB)

Do you know anyone who is oppressed? It means they are burdened or persecuted by someone who has some authority over them. Maybe it is a faceless group of people in the Sudan or Korea or a big city project. Maybe it is a neighbor who seems nice but alone and withdrawn. Maybe its someone you see at church every week but if you take the time to look, their smile is never in their eyes.

Jesus spent most of His ministry among the people. He rarely answered the questions that they asked but instead answered the question that they wanted to ask (even if they didn’t know it!). Jesus looked beyond what was in front of Him. He looked into the eyes which was the path into the spirit of those He met. He wants me to do the same.

Take the time. It’s a little thing to give someone a genuine smile. It’s a little thing to look someone in the eye and sincerely ask, “How are you doing?” and take the time to hear more than “Fine”. Know someone who is ill or, for whatever reason, unable to be out and about? Send them a card. Pick up the phone. Do you feel Jesus pointing someone out to you?

Listen. I heard a story this week about a teenage girl who, with her parents, went on a mission trip with her church to Haiti. She came home from that trip with a burden on her heart to help the orphans that she saw there. That was seven years ago. Her parents, following their daughter’s example, heard Jesus also speaking to them. They sold their home and moved to Haiti. They have opened two orphanages. Were they crazy? Maybe. But the orphanages are growing, the children are learning productive skills and about Jesus. And when the disaster came, the orphanages were a beacon of light for more displaced children. They listened and obeyed. It was a step of faith.

God may not call on me to do such a big step but He is wanting to use me to encourage His children. Am I willing to listen and obey. Am I willing to give my time, even go out of my way? Do I see opportunities to reach out through local soup kitchens, mission trips, and mission support of goods and financial support.

Prayer. I have several friends who are missionaries. Yes, they need many things and people but to a person the most important thing that they request is prayer. You do not even have to know them personally. If the LORD brings a missionary across your path and you feel the pull on your heart, put their name down and keep them before Him in prayer. My Savior and Protector who is with me is also with them. We are connected in a way that can not be hindered by miles.

The writer of Ecclesiastes seems to have lost his hope as he looks at a world that is oppressed. He had the promise of a Messiah but didn’t see Him. I have the promise of a Messiah fulfilled. I have this Hope that sets me free from anything that burdens, physically or spiritually. It is a free gift that is meant to be given away.

The LORD is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O LORD, do not abandon those who search for you.                 Psalm 9:9-10 (NLT)

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