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Proverb 31: 8 – 9

Open your mouth for the people who cannot speak, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Well, this is the last of the proverbs; just enough for one every day of the month. So, this will end Proverb Monday. I have enjoyed it and hope you have too.

This proverb was written by King Lemuel and is the advice he received from his mother. Among other things, she told him that as a leader, his job was to look out for the needs and rights of the less fortunate, the poor and the needy. In other words, he, and we, are the voice of those whose voice may be hard to hear, or muted.

That is a sobering thought. I suppose most of us think the job of looking out for the needy, for speaking up for them, is really the job of the government. Those of us, though, who are in favor of small government must accept that the responsibility then falls upon us. We are obligated to make sure that everyone in our society is cared for. As countries grow and populations become more diverse, that becomes harder and harder.

The church had the responsibility for caring for the widows, orphans and aliens. Perhaps the job became too big for the church, or maybe the church became too small for the job. Only 3 – 5% of Christians tithe and the number of church goers has diminished. So, the church is not as able to meet community needs as well as it once was.

We find ourselves in a difficult situation. We have the same responsibility to speak for and defend the needy and the poor. We can do that through town and city councils and with our votes. There are no easy answers when it comes to the poor, the needy and the homeless but when we sensitize ourselves to the need, perhaps it helps us perceive opportunities and maybe even some solutions.

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