FOCUSING ON THE VULNERABLE
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
– Isaiah 58:6-7
In both the Old and New Testaments, we see God’s heart for the vulnerable and His desire for us to show compassion.
Even more dramatically, God went so far as to say that those who show mercy to the poor, the sick and the needy are in effect ministering to Him personally (Matthew 25:35–40) and will be rewarded accordingly.
Who are the most vulnerable? The Bible speaks of the hungry and oppressed (Isaiah 58:10); the hungry, thirsty, sick, stranger and prisoner (Matthew 25:31–46); those walking in darkness (Isaiah 9:2); the blind, lame, lepers, the deaf, the dead and the poor (Luke 7:22); and those estranged from their Creator like lost sheep (Isaiah 53:6). When we speak of the most vulnerable, we refer to Scripture’s special place for all of those experiencing some kind of physical or spiritual poverty.
How does it work?
Basically, as we go to any new place, we take time to seek God and ask Him to show us the vulnerable with whom He would have us work. We don’t have a prescribed formula or a clearly-defined list of groups that we focus on. We realize God is concerned with all sorts of needy people. It does mean that often we end up helping in challenging circumstances or helping people that are neglected by other programs.
Examples From Our Work
Ending Gendercide—After years of teaching applied biblical truth, the team in India felt increasingly burdened by the issue of violence against women and girls. India is recognized as the most dangerous place to be born a girl—and so many aren’t born at all. The missing girls of India are among the most vulnerable. Following God’s leading, the team refocused all their efforts on this need.
Rahham— A few years ago, the leaders of Rahham felt a call to reach the most vulnerable people in the city of New Delhi—those that even the Church had written off as untouchable. They went to the poorest areas and began hosting “fellowship groups” for people with HIV/AIDS, rag pickers living in garbage dumps, drug addicts, and LGBTQ. At the fellowship meetings, they shared a meal, talked about the hope of Christ, prayed for each other, and provided whatever tangible help they could for people’s needs. Out of those groups, many churches have now been birthed.
‘FOCUSING ON THE VULNERABLE’ BOOKLET
If you want to go deeper in understanding what this principle is and how you can apply it – this booklet gives more information.