Many people have little sympathy for the poor in their community because they assume they are lazy and irresponsible. Others say that the problem is with a government welfare system that is inefficient and often abused. But it is wrong to say that all poor people deserve their plight.

The fact is that many would be willing to work hard if they could find employment at decent wages. They are trapped in rat-infested tenements or in decaying shanties because the jobs available to them do not provide enough money for them to move.

I don’t pretend to know how to fix the welfare system, but I do know that as followers of Christ we should do far more than we have been doing. I am thankful, though, that more and more churches are reaching into poverty-ridden areas with a gospel ministry that includes providing food, clothing, shelter, training, and even employment.

As individual believers, we should do what we can to help those who have this vision. But before we can do this effectively, we should ask the Lord to help us change our attitude from contempt to compassion (Prov. 19:17; 28:27). Only then will we gladly open our hearts and our hands to those who need our help.