The writer of the book of James
echoed Jesus’ passion for the poor, saying, “Religion that God our Father
accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in
their distress” (James 1:27).
Efforts to help the poor and
needy of the world greatly intensified in the twentieth century. The advent of
television and radio made it possible for Christian charitable organizations to
reach many and recruit broad support for large causes.
One of the biggest of these
modern-day charities remains World Vision. Originally founded in 1950, World
Vision aims to increase awareness about hungry and poor people. Within a few
years of their founding, they pioneered the system of individual sponsorship used
to help the impoverished around the world.
World Vision now works in
nearly one hundred countries providing child protection, disaster relief, economic
development, education, food, refugee aid, health care, and agriculture.
Christian institutions desire to combat poverty. These include Food for the
Hungry, Samaritan’s Purse, Feed My Starving Children, and many others. While
they hope to relieve the suffering of the poor, they each look for creative
ways to bring a broad range of services to those in these impoverished
bureaucracies move slowly to provide disaster relief, the church and parachurch
organizations have designed quick response teams that bring relief after a
Christian agencies like
Samaritan’s Purse provide rapid emergency assistance through the relationships
they already have with churches in the area. By providing instant infrastructure
and relief, Samaritan’s Purse helps local churches become the centers of help.
Samaritan’s Purse provides emergency relief through meeting the people’s daily
needs—giving them blankets, food, personal hygiene supplies, and cooking
utensils. They build medical facilities and provide medicine and other
essential supplies to people who have suffered through a natural disaster. They
also provide emergency shelters for those who have lost their homes.
This blog post has been adapted from my book How Jesus Changed the World. You can learn more about it here.