Social Ministry Part II: Why Do We Fulfill Basic Needs First?

Jenny Jaroneski   -  

By: Jenny Jaroneski Social Ministry Associate

Did you know that Social Ministry here at Trinity has its very own mission statement? In conjunction with Trinity’s mission to go and make disciples who share Christ’s story with love, Social Ministry also has a mission to reach the lost, the least, and the last with the love of Jesus through word and actions. But what is the easiest way to do that? How do we extend the love of Jesus to others who are too hungry to think about anything other than food or homeless and in need of shelter?

Whether it is due to health or financial hardship, we see the struggles of everyday life consume people to the point where they lose sight of their faith. The ability to look at the big picture or past next week or even tomorrow becomes a major struggle.  The only thing that they can focus on is their next move – their basic needs.  The questions we hear look a lot like this:

Where is my next meal coming from? How do I pay my bills? How can I find a job? Where can my mail get sent to? Where is there an available restroom? How do I contact agencies without access to a phone? How do I apply for a job without computer access? What kind of training is there for me to get a job? Where can I work that is close to a bus route? Who can provide child care that doesn’t exceed my income? 

These “basic needs” questions above don’t leave a lot of room for other important questions, the “spiritual needs” questions like:

Who is Jesus? How do I see God acting in my life? What has God provided for me? How will God continue to provide for me? What church community will welcome me? How can I learn more about Jesus? How can I teach others about Jesus? How can I show love for my neighbors? How can I expand my relationship with God? How can He change my life?

God places this dilemma before us. How do we fix it? How do we react as a congregation and follower of Jesus Christ? How do we help others to focus less on their basic needs and more on their spiritual needs? The answer I come it is: by serving others in fulfilling their basic needs. 

As disciples, we show others the love of Jesus through the act of service. We form relationships with our neighbors. By fulfilling basic needs by providing a meal or shelter, it allows those we serve to stop worrying about the all-consuming immediate questions pertaining to their physical lives and focus on their spiritual lives. 

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Though scripture tells us to not be anxious – it can be hard to release that mental state of anxiousness. By helping to alleviate the physical demands placed on the struggling, homeless and under-served members of our community – we have the opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ and make disciples in those we serve.