Today I am struggling with the need all around me. Just minutes earlier there was a knock at our door and yet another sweet lady with pleading eyes and children by her side asking me to help with her crèche. “Please, we will take any help that you can offer”. As I told her that I am sorry but that the management board of Izandla ZeAfrika has made the decision to not currently take on board any more projects as we need to trust for provision for the ones that we already help, something inside of me ached.
She was not the only person asking for help. I am cornered nearly every day by pleading eyes asking for help with starving family members, unregistered or orphaned children, elderly neglect, study fees, or yet another day care facility with too many mouths to feed and no income to keep them afloat. In a poor rural community the need is always great. At times it feels suffocating, but mostly it just breaks your heart. The reality is that the poor will always be among us. In a broken world we will always be surrounded by desperation and want. But we are not called to run around and try and feed as many hungry mouths as we can or set up as many community projects as we can until we collapse of sheer exhaustion. Hard as it may be at times, we are simply called to obedience. God sees every single one in need, He hears every plea for help and His heart breaks for every thirsty soul. And as I sit at His feet and feel overwhelmed by the burden of need, I am reminded of these words that Jesus spoke:
The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. – Matthew 26:11
Jesus was warning the disciples of his departure and trying to impress upon them the need to draw of Him and learn from the Son of God while he was still walking in flesh among them. But His words still ring true now for each and every one of us. As we allow God to open our eyes and ears to the plight of people all around us we need to understand the most important truth of it all. Only out of Him will change flow forth. Only in Him will our strength be renewed. The poor will always be among us and we simply cannot give what we do not have. If we spend less time in the presence of the living One and more time running around trying to help as many folks as we can, we will run in our own strength and we will grow weary. Instead, God calls us into His inner courts, into His holy of holies where He wants to fill us to the brim and love on us as He equips us for every good deed. One moment, one day spent in the courts of the living God is better than thousands spent “doing” – a profound lesson that Martha also had to learn as she was grumbling to her sister for soaking at Jesus’ feet instead of helping prepare the meal for so many hungry mouths to feed.
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. – Psalm 84:10
May our hearts never grow hard to the need all around us, may we extend a helping hand and speak the words of Truth into desperation, but may we always wait upon Jesus, always soak in Him, and always allow Him to direct our hands and feet.