This is the fourth of five posts covering key principles in ministry with the poor intended to help churches move from transactional to transformational ministry. In the previous post, we discussed the importance of building on God-given skills and abilities when we help the poor.
4. Created to Be Creative
“Like all good and satisfying work, the worker sees himself in it.” —Tim Keller
This woman in Bangladesh earns income by using her skills as a seamstress.
In the last post, we talked about the importance of starting with what people have not with what they lack when doing ministry with the poor. In this post, we’re going to continue that thought, but focusing on the God-given need we all have to use our skills and abilities.
From the outset of the Bible, we see God at work in creation, and throughout the Bible we see God continuing to work within creation. We also see God reflect back on His work with joy, for instance at the end of each day of creation. I think this is, in part, because His work bears His signature, it’s a reflection of who He is in some sense. Psalm 19 affirms this idea:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Tim Keller says, “Like all good and satisfying work, the worker sees himself in it.” This is not only true of God, but being made in His image, we’re also designed to use our unique skills and abilities. Keller also says:
“Work is as much a basic human need as food, beauty, rest, friendship, prayer, and sexuality; it is not simply medicine but food for our soul. Without meaningful work we sense significant inner loss and emptiness. People who are cut off from work because of physical or other reasons quickly discover how much they need work to thrive emotionally, physically, and spiritually.”
A young Haitian man uses his construction skills to rebuild homes in Haiti.
This video, “Eggs in Rwanda,” shows an example of how good intentions of helping actually undermined the God-given need for a person in that community to work.
Let’s be sure we’re equipping people use their God-given skills and abilities when we help the poor.