For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. Matt 26:11
Recently I was watching an episode of Poldark on Masterpiece Classic. It is a BBC Period piece set in Cornwall England beginning in the 1780s. In this particular episode, the lower classes in the region were starving due to a series of factors. The primary factor was grain being exported for higher prices abroad supporting wealthy landowners.
In an act of providence, a ship loaded with provision was wrecked off the coast near the village. Word spread that barrels of food were washing ashore and the people rushed to gather up what they could from the wreckage. It was time for celebration and a feast.
Time Shift – Today’s Poor
In an unlikely connection, as I watched this scene, I remembered many videos I have watched of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) aircraft arriving at some isolated village loaded with provisions. The local folks rushed to meet this “ship” coming in, not as an accident, but rather with intention, with its life-sustaining food, medical supplies, and other much-needed supplies.
Jesus tells us in several of the gospels “for ye have the poor always with you…..”. This statement seems rather fatalistic for the Son of God to be proclaiming: An endless task for His Kingdom on earth.
What Jesus did NOT say is that “the poor” would always be the same people. The poor of the moment, are those affected by disaster, epidemic, political unrest, and of course, isolation. But people, individuals, families, tribes, and even nations, when given the opportunity, do sometimes choose to come out of poverty.
A Legacy Of Service
When you look at the work of MAF over its almost 77 years, people have come out. Out of:
out, most importantly, of spiritual darkness. The generations story beginning with the Ecuador tragedy and the maturing of the work of MAF in certain areas are testaments that MAF’s work has taken root and is growing.
As I watched the Poldark scene, tears welled up. I recalled the day I flew into Longda, Papua Indonesia and people came out to meet the airplane loaded with provisions.
A real-life portrayal of videos of:
people rushing to meet planes loaded with bibles in their own heart language,
those coming to help load and unload those in need of medical care,
medical personnel, teachers, or family members reaching their destination.
Every 12 or so minutes, the fictional scene portrayed in Poldark is replayed in real-time by a MAF flight taking off or landing. The work of MAF touches a place in my soul.
Yes, the poor will always be with us. We will always have a mission, but let us not forget that MAF and others like them are leaving behind multitudes who are less poor than they were.
If you are looking for a way to cast a wide net of help, consider MAF. When you support MAF you are supporting over 500 other humanitarian, medical, and faith-based organizations around the globe.