There is a verse in Ezekiel that leveled me the first time I read it. God describes how Sodom had sinned against him. In your mind, what do you think about when you consider Sodom’s sins? You may be surprised.
"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49, NIV)
Think about it… they did not help the poor and needy. Of all the things I thought about Sodom, this would not have made my list. This is what He called the sin of Sodom. This is an extremely powerful truth.
I was 18 when I gave my life to Jesus. I was all in. I had no idea what that would mean, but I wanted all of Him. I came to work at LIFE Outreach International and served in areas including courier, production assistant, floor director, television producer, and photographer. In 1990, just after we started feeding children in southern Africa, I was asked to go to Mozambique and take photos for our ministry. I immediately said, “Yes!” Up to that point, photography had been a hobby, but that trip would change my life forever. What I saw and felt climbed into my heart. From then on, I knew what I wanted to do.
Missions became a huge part of our ministry, and my role became LIFE’s photographer in the field. I have now been to 76 countries and pray for many more. As I travel, I encounter people facing tragedy and heartbreak. Many have lost a child to hunger or contaminated water. Others have recently been rescued from sex trafficking and are trying to make sense of their abuse. Some have barely survived a hurricane, tsunami, earthquake, or drought.
My job and calling are to capture and bring back their stories in a way that will take you to the mission field in your heart. I introduce you to people that have become my family – our family – around the world. I hope you will love them like I do.
I feel strongly about our responsibility as Christ’s representatives in the lives of the needy around the world. God clearly states our call to help the poor.
Proverbs 19:17 tells us to be generous saying, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9 implores us to advocate for those that don’t have a way to speak for themselves, urging us, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 14:31 shows just how serious God is about helping others, saying, “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”
In Matthew 25, Jesus told the parable of the sheep and the goats to illustrate how our actions toward the poor have a supernatural impact, saying, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
I love that God states what he wants from us in black and white. Whether in our hometown or around the world, he tells us to open our eyes and hearts to those in pain and in need. This is the very heart of God. Join me in what God is doing and help save the lives of others. Not only will it demonstrate God’s love to them, but it will also change you along the way.