Answers to the Big “Why?”

When you think about the question of why every human being should care about people in poverty, what comes to mind? As a Christian the answer is simple: because God commands it. The Old and New Testaments give numerous examples of this command. Some would say the foundational command from Jesus is in Matthew 22:39 when he says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. More specifically, we read in Leviticus 25:35, “If one of your brethren becomes poor and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.”

Although Christ also says in Mathew 26:11 “The poor will always be with you,” we are compelled to strive to behave “on earth as it is in Heaven” as much as humanly possible. Another answer to the big “why” is the increasing realization that, for centuries, many efforts to help have been misdirected or have fallen short. This is a controversial subject, and some would resist the idea strenuously. However, we do know that poverty worldwide is on the increase. In Lynchburg, we are one of the most impoverished cities in the state of Virginia.

There is no question that billions of dollars have done good and countless numbers of lives have been saved. We see that every day with rescue efforts during times of disaster and war. Incredible stories of sacrifice for others abound.  It’s also true that giving people what they could be gaining on their own can create a cycle of dependency that is hard to break. Although this may seem harsh to some, the concept is ageless. To give someone a fishing pole rather than a fresh catch for dinner has been with us for centuries. The word “empowerment” has been a mantra for many in today’s world. However, giving of ourselves to others by teaching or releasing our power is different. The beauty of that kind of giving is that the giver is often the bigger receiver.

The Open Table model focuses on lasting relationships and a wholistic approach. We hope you will join the movement.