I'm just a normal person. What are some everyday ways I can help?
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
- Isaiah 1:17
I'VE GOTTA BE HONEST.
When I first started thinking about this verse, I said to myself, “I'm coming up short in all of these areas. What've I ever done for an orphan or a widow? I’m certainly no Atticus Finch, fighting against white supremacy. I’ve never started a homeless shelter or fostered a child. I haven’t __________.” You fill in the blank. I just felt like I'd done nothing in this regard. But, as this month progressed, I began to see everyday ways that we can all work for justice, help the marginalized, and accept the outsider.
So, I started keeping a mental list of the everyday, normal things I’ve seen others do to really live out the heart of this verse. If you’re like me, a list is always helpful. You can look at some things and say, “that’s a great idea for later. Or, I actually already do that and I never thought of how it really does fit into the heart of this verse.” This list is by no means exhaustive, and PLEASE don't let it feel exhausting. It's intended to be helpful. But...
SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED A LIST:
- Help out with an after school tutoring program.
- Babysit free of charge for a single parent.
- “Adopt” an older person in your neighborhood.
- House a college student for the summer.
- Help teach ESL classes.
- Start a “Be the Bridge” group to promote racial healing in your community (bethebridge.com).
- Volunteer for a ministry to high school students like your church youth group or your local Young Life chapter (younglife.org).
- Spend time at a retirement community and get to know the residents.
- Keep $5 fast food gift cards in your car or purse to give to homeless people.
- Make dinner at a shelter with your friends once a month.
- Mentor a young person.
- Help end slavery and trafficking by supporting a group like the International Justice Mission (ijm.org).
- Do yard work for an elderly neighbor or single mom.
- Invite single friends to a holiday meal.
- Support a needy child through an organization such as Compassion International (compassion.com).
Those are just a few ideas. I just hope this is helpful. It was helpful for me to see how taking on a couple small things can work to chip away at the injustice and inequality that we see all around us.
How does this list help you see Isaiah 1:17 more fully?
What's one thing you've done, one thing you'd like to do, and one thing you can do later?
Natalie co-founded Dwell with her sister, Vera. Together, they're committed to helping others connect with God each and every day. Natalie also hosts our weekly podcast, Dwell Differently. She and her husband, Jason, live in Chicago with their 5 kids, where Jason pastors First Free Church.