In both the Old and New Testaments, we see God’s heart for the vulnerable and His desire for us to show compassion.
“Learn to do what is right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
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 effort on this need.
Wholistic Development Center— Over the last few years, we have been focusing again on identifying the most vulnerable for this program. We felt called to the ethnic minorities. It’s not easy. Many come with insufficient education and little scriptural knowledge. And the variety of ethnic groups can make for some interesting cross-cultural tensions. But they are unreached by other groups, and God has called us to them. Seeing lives changed makes it worth it.