When we develop relationships with the poor through our justice work, those of us who haven't experienced poverty ourselves come to know more and more about what daily life is like for folks who aren't sure where the next meal is going to come from. Even those of us who have experienced poverty will find the experience enlightening. Poverty creeps into our lives in different ways. Some of us struggle with debt and addiction. Some struggle with a lack of education or health care resources. Some people face homelessness and hunger. Whatever we encounter, we become more thoroughly human. We gain understanding. We do good work.
There is a difference, though, when we invite God into the scenario. Through the practice of meditative prayer, quietly listening for that still, small voice to speak, we learn God's own heart. The Bible addresses poverty more than 2,000 times. The poor, the hungry, the broken people who live on the margins are on God's heart. As we tap into God's heart of compassion, our service work deepens in meaning. Reading the Bible and spending time with God will highlight what God thinks about poverty and instruct us in what we're meant to do. It gives us a passion for our service that we may lack without that divine spark.
"Knowing a person in poverty gives us understanding; knowing God gives us passion to care about that person. Spending time with both brings together our understanding and our energy to act."