During the months I spent researching in preparation for my trip to Africa, God so miraculously revealed to me how His Word directly paralleled to much of what I was reading in academic journals and articles. I hate to admit this, but I typically tend to keep the “intellectual” side of my life very separate from the spiritual. Yes, I know that God is present with me always… But it’s only when I’m not preoccupied with studying things other than Scripture that I actually acknowledge Him. Well, even when I fail to acknowledge Him, God shows up… in a big way. While academic resources changed my mind about development and poverty, God’s Word changed my heart.
The night before I left for Africa, I wrote each of these verses down in the front of a fresh journal. Through my travels, my research in Africa, my ministry in the Dominican Republic, and my studies and reflections, these verses have continually carried me through and pushed me forward. They have reaffirmed my feeling that God has me here for a reason… pursuing knowledge and understanding of need, poverty, loss, and oppression as a part of His will and desire for my life. And He did more than whisper these affirmations – He wrote them plain and clear in the pages of His book.
“A Father to the fatherless, a Defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” – Psalm 68:5
“He who increases his wealth by exorbitant interest amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.” – Proverbs 28:8
“He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.” – Proverbs 28:27
“The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” – Proverbs 29:7
“She opens her arms to the poor and extends her arms to the needy.” (The Wife of Noble Character) – Proverbs 31:20
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Luke 12:32-34
“…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” – Luke 12:48
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” – Luke 18:16
“You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” – Luke 18:22
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and blameless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27