Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard. ~ Proverbs 21:13
In sixth grade, my Christian school teacher gave us an assignment to illustrate a verse from Proverbs. Today’s verse is the one that I chose. After all the assignments were turned in, she had the drawings transferred to transparency film and we got to trace them using an overhead projector onto poster board. They lined the walls of the classroom for a week or so, and church members were able to see them.
My drawing has gone the way of the dinosaur, but this truth was traced upon my heart. Each week, we took a lady home from church. It felt like she lived hours away, but it was probably only about 20 minutes. The first time we met her, she lived in a teepee. I kid you not, it was a Native American style teepee! Later, her husband, who was never gainfully employed, made them a type of dug-out basement to live in. From the outside, it looked like a giant baseball mound. This woman was mentally disabled and, to me, she was a nuisance. I dreaded the long drives on Sunday mornings, when I just wanted to get home and eat and relax for a while. I sighed and complained. My parents endured me. Their flesh fought them too, but they had willing hearts that wanted to serve. They wanted to be a blessing to those who were less fortunate.
I didn’t understand the meaning of Proverbs 21:13 until years later, after I had been born-again by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s amazing how a hard heart can become soft once the Holy Spirit indwells it. Oh, I still felt hungry after church, and wanted to be home, but I became a little more compassionate, a little more understanding. I didn’t complain as much. Instead, I was thankful that I didn’t live in a dug-out. I felt blessed and somewhat joyful that we could offer this lady some help. The Lord had done a work in my heart.
I still fight my flesh when it comes to helping those in need. So many of the indigent waste resources on drugs and alcohol. I don’t want to help them in their addictions, but I do want to help those who truly have a need. I certainly don’t want to find myself on the opposite side of this, having to cry myself but not being heard. The Lord will direct me, but it begins with a willingness to listen to the cry of the poor.