When Jesus and His disciples were spreading the Word of God 2,000 years ago they frequently ministered to the poor, the sick and the troubled. Just as now, there were so many who lived in terrible poverty and who were hungry, thirsty, without proper clothes or shelter.
Jesus told His followers that what they did for the poor – “the least of My brothers” – they did for Him. It is the same today. When we help those in need, we are ministering to Jesus Himself. This set the stage for the work of Christian ministry in the 21st century.
The most needy people in the world today must surely be the millions of children born into poverty and despair. These are the children in the world’s most disadvantaged countries and who have absolutely nothing. Many of them don’t survive. Tragically, more than 21,000 children younger than 5 die every single day because of the effects of poverty. Others are only just surviving without proper nourishment, adequate shelter, or clean water to drink. They have no access to health care and no hope that their lives will ever improve.
But thankfully because of the international work of a Christian ministry, many of these children are saved from death, disease and the downward spiral of poverty. Many Christian ministries work in Jesus’ name to bring food, shelter, clean water, and medical aid to desperately needy children in Africa, Asia, and South and Central America. Some of these Christian ministries also bring education and the opportunity to train for worthwhile jobs. In this way the work of a Christian ministry in the 21st century is to help the children find a release from the poverty trap.
Crucially, the work of a Christian ministry is also to teach every child about Jesus and His work and how precious the children are to Him. The aim is to bring hope and love to the children’s life in every way so they can grow into responsible and fulfilled Christian adults.
Much of this work of a Christian ministry is funded through child sponsorship. This is a simple but highly effective way that kindly individuals can help make poverty history by working with a Christian ministry. A sponsor gives just a few dollars a month for an individual child. This is a gift that can transform a child’s life. There is the added delight of building a loving relationship with the child through letters, photographs, small gifts and even visits.
Helping the world’s poorest children is one of the most important jobs undertaken by a Christian ministry in the 21st century. But there is plenty of other work to do too. Even in the richest countries children can suffer great misery and deprivation. They can be desperately poor in terms of love and nurturing. Just as in modern Western society, developing countries can also be a hard place for children. Moral and spiritual uncertainties mean that young souls may be left floundering. Many turn to drugs, alcohol and other forms of self-punishment. This is where the work of a Christian ministry can and does step in, bringing hope, love and stability to a child in pain.