It's easy to get weighed down by the injustice and need we see all around us, and to imagine that there's nothing (or very little) we can do about it.
Choose not to shy away from a cause today.
Lend your voice to the voiceless, stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves, and don't wait for someone else to be the solution.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
(Proverbs 31:8–9 NIV)
While many might describe me as a fundraiser, I prefer to say I am a storyteller.
I’ve been passionate about justice and poverty issues ever since volunteering with Tearfund over 20 years ago and spending a summer working in Uganda. Convinced I was going to change the world and save the poor, instead I found myself irrevocably changed.
The desire for poverty to be tackled hadn’t changed but the way I could best help had. I had learned the best way I could help wasn’t to do things to or for people – or even give them things. What I could best do was use my voice and speak up.
But in recent years I’ve even changed how I speak.
One of the insidious things about poverty is the lies it tells people – it leaves people feeling that they are helpless and voiceless. To combat those lies, part of our response to poverty must be to tackle it holistically: not just the material need, but also the spiritual and emotional need. To defend the rights of the poor and needy is to acknowledge their God-given value and potential; to empower them to use their own voice.
Five years ago in Ethiopia I met a group of 20 women who, with the help of their local church backed by Tearfund, had formed a self-help group where they saved their own money, in tiny amounts at first, and then gave each other loans to set up small businesses. The income generated from this group was paying for their children’s schooling, healthy meals, medicine, and even to help poorer people in their community.
The women’s faces shone as they shared their stories and each one stood and said, ’I give praise to God for what he has done and now let me tell you what I have done …’
We heard their voices.
My job is not just to tell their stories. I’m duty bound to make sure that their voice is heard when I tell that story.
So, today, let’s speak up and ensure that the voice of those who need us most is heard.
Whose story has God put on your heart?
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