Guest post by Louis Pool (translated from Dutch to English).
I had always thought that to take care of each other, especially taking care of those who have a lot less than we do or who experience poverty due to fleeing from war or perhaps due to suffering some kind of injustice, was a command coming mostly coming from the New Testament. The other day, when I read the Poverty and Justice bible, I was surprised by the thoughts about the same subject also communicated in the Old Testament; e.g. reading from Deut. 24:14, many ages before Christ. Moses specifically called on his people to take care of the poor. Special mention is made of the needy, the foreigners and the widows. Note Deut. 24:19: ‘When you are harvesting in your field, and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands’ .
What Moses really says is let part of your harvest [income] go to the poor, and in doing so: you won’t even miss whatever you leave aside for the poor, because God will be good for you. This is a principle of mutual advantage that goes back many millennia.
I have always been intrigued by Jesus’ story of the merciful Samaritan. For a long time, I always thought that our neighbour must be the person who is sick, or who is hungry, or who has been wounded and who might die; and that it is our duty to care for our neighbour. But looking carefully at the story, note that Jesus points to the Samaritan as being the neighbour. He was the only one who cared for the person who was robbed and left for dead at the side of the road. Looking at it this way, I had to ask myself the question: For whom can I be the merciful Samaritan? For whom can I be a neighbour?
For the past ten years, we [Heart for Children] felt compelled to help orphaned, vulnerable and/or abandoned children in the poorer parts of the world. In fact, we helped hundreds of them. These are mostly children whose circumstances in life without any assistance are extremely difficult. Thanks to the regular support from Heart for Children we were able to give some children a chance to a better life.
This Christmas, we want to give thanks to all the Samaritans of Heart for Children who have a heart for the abandoned and orphaned children in the world!