“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.” Isaiah 58:10
I can recall one of the first times I had the chance to truly serve a group of people. I spent the summer of 2011 in Charleston, SC participating in a Summer Project. These service opportunities are sort of like “Missions Trips in Training” for college students. Throughout the summer I learned a lot about public evangelism, developing personal spiritual disciplines, and 1-on-1 discipleship. In the midst of those lessons, we had the chance to serve people within the city who were facing homelessness and poverty.
One of the most fulfilling experiences was when we spent a Saturday in a low-income housing development. We took a grill, tons of hotdogs and hamburgers, and plenty of water. The entire day simply focused on getting to know people, listening to their stories, hearing their dreams, and thinking of ways we could bring a bit of hope to them.
I believe our hearts hurt when we see people in circumstances such as homelessness or poverty. When we feel the heart ache we attempt to respond in a way that relieves their circumstances. We try to figure out how we can get them in a better place. A great deed we can do for people is to provide resources such as: food, water, a home, or even a job. But this verse challenges us to think differently.
Isaiah did not write, “Pour out your money, food, or water,” he charges us with pouring out ourselves. Again, those are great steps to take because they can provide relief for those hurting but what if there is something else we could do? Isaiah is challenging you and I to pour ourselves out for the hungry and the afflicted.
In my mind, the difference between giving resources and pouring out ourselves for others is costly. When we give people resources it costs money, but when we give of ourselves it cost money, energy, time, AND empathy. Pouring ourselves out can be a game-changer for the hungry and the afflicted.
Those who are hungry and afflicted have experience in receiving resources, but they may never had someone pour themselves out on their behalf. Think about the difference between giving someone a meal versus sitting down and enjoying a meal with them. Giving someone a meal shows a person you noticed their circumstances and you want to help. Sitting down and enjoying a meal with a person shows them they are seen and someone wants to know them.
We can see the effectiveness of this approach lived out by Jesus. Jesus was the most caring person to walk the earth. Jesus could not provide too many resources since He was not a man of wealth. However, the one resource He could provide was His heart for them. The hungry and the afflicted flocked to Jesus because they knew that after an encounter with Jesus, they were going to live differently.
Jesus made every person He came in contact with feel known. He gave them hope. For those of us who know Jesus, He took the act of pouring Himself out to the ultimate level. Jesus gave up His soul for every person who was hungry and afflicted, in fact, He gave up His soul for all of humanity. The rest of today’s verse reveals when we choose to pour ourselves out rather than give someone a meal, our light rises in the darkness.
I love this imagery. Our light rising is not about other people seeing what we are doing; it entails chasing away darkness. Jesus is the light (John 8:12), and how we live our lives serves as an opportunity to shine His light to the world. The way His light comes out of us is by finding chances to pour ourselves out to those around us.
What potential steps could you take to be someone who pours out their soul for the hungry and the afflicted?
What could you learn from the life of Jesus in regard to shining His light to those around you?
Father, thank you for modeling such care and kindness to those in Your life. I pray You give me a heart that reflects Your heart – one that is poured out for the people in my life. Let Your light shine through my life so others can see. Thank you for who You are Father. I pray all these things in Your holy name, Amen.
PC3 writer Davy Nance wrote today’s devotional.