Malaysian Care on How to Care For the Poor


Many churches in Malaysia are taking up the call to serve and minister to the less fortunate in our nation. Recently, on the 8th of March 2014, Malaysian Care was invited to Kajang Assembly of God to educate and share about this area of ministry as part of the church’s initiative to bless the less fortunate.   




There are numerous verses in the Bible that exhorts Christians to care for the poor and marginalized, both in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. Deuteronomy 15:11 says that there will always be those who are less fortunate than us. The Israelites were commanded to be open-handed to those who are less fortunate, and this was taken in context even for those who were in debt to them. Isaiah 61:1 is a reminder that the Lord has anointed us to proclaim good news to the poor and bind up the broken-hearted.


Deuteronomy 15:7-11

If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.

Isaiah 61:1

New International Version (NIV)

61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,


In The New Testament, we also find this call many times. Luke 6:17-26 warns us about misusing our riches and privileges in ignorance and at the expense of the poor, and Acts 2:44-45 tells us that the early believers had everything in common, and they sold properties and gave to anyone who was in need.




It doesn’t matter how much we can give. Like the miracle of the 5 loaves and 2 fishes in John 6:1-14, God will bless and multiply whatever we have to give and share with others. We only need to remember the poor (Galatians 2:10)


Acts 2:44-45

New International Version (NIV)

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.

Galatians 2:10

New International Version (NIV)

10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.


Identifying the Poor




Initiatives to bless the poor can be done in many forms. It can be through community-based organizations like the Missionaries of Charity, Sisters of Charity, World Vision, or Malaysian Care. It can also be in the form of projects within churches. The main thing is to identify the poor. The representatives from Malaysian Care shared that through their experience, there are four main areas of others needing help:

1. Economically – These include the homeless on the streets, and people lacking food and shelter.

2. The Marginalised – Sometimes poverty can come through the actions of others such as a displacement of location. Such is the case with many minority people throughout the world such as the aborigines and refugees.

3. The Disabled – Disablement can hinder people from living a full life in society, and cause them to fall behind economically. Disablement does not just exist physically, it comes in all forms including with mental faculties.

4. Addiction – Often, poverty also comes through a person’s addiction to alcohol, drugs, or gambling.


Causes of Poverty




Malaysian Care also identified some main causes of poverty.

1. Poverty may come from a person’s own struggle with sin such as with the aforementioned addiction.

2. At other times, it may result from the sins of others such as oppression, self-centered actions or warfare from the actions of powerful people such as business or political leaders. Apathy and domestic violence can also result in the poverty of others.

3. Natural disasters such as famine or a hurricane can also cause poverty.

4. Sometimes, poverty can also come from God’s discipline or through a divinely-ordained trial. In such cases, God’s primary objective is either to deal with a person’s sin, or, in the cases of trials, for the growth of the person, possibly for a set purpose in the future.    

5. One surprising or little-noted cause of poverty is through voluntary choice, either for religious purposes such as with ascetics, or for other reasons.


Guidelines for Ministry

Whatever the cause of poverty may be, Christians have a calling and responsibility. Malaysian Care offered some practical guidelines for those who are called or have a heart for the ministry.




1.  First of all, everyone can play a part, even those without any resources. Don’t underestimate the power of prayer. God answers our prayers (Matthew 21: 22) and whenever two or more are gathered in His name, He is in the midst of us (Matthew 18:20).  Intercede for the less fortunate.


Matthew 21: 22

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.   

Matthew 18:20

New International Version (NIV)

20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”


2. Secondly, before we embark on our ministry, we first need to identify the needs of our target group. Not every group has the same need, and sometimes we may also need to identify the causes of the poverty. Is it a physical, psychological, or spiritual matter?




3.  We also need to assess our own resources. Some cases are more complicated than others. Such cases as with refugees, might involve higher authorities, and require a level of experience and wisdom that we currently lack.

We also need to be mindful of our financial resources and not go blindly out of idealism, but instead be wise to first lay a foundation. Do not be overambitious and despise the ‘small things’ of God. Every work we do in the name of the Lord is valuable and makes a difference.




4. Research worthy and proven programmes. Be careful of joining programmes straightaway, Do a background research on the organization. Less scrupulous people have taken advantage of such needs to make profit in the past. There are many organizations with good credentials, and the Internet as well as advice from experienced people are great resources.




5. The importance of training and equipping also cannot be emphasized enough. Many people have experienced helplessness or spiritual burn-out because they were not prepared when they went into such ministries. Many of the trustworthy organizations also offer training and equipping for prospective ministers of God.




6. Involve everyone. Ministries such as these are not only the responsibility of church or organization leaders. It is the responsibility of every Christian and follower of Christ.       


Malaysian Care is a non-profit Christian NGO established in Malaysia in 1979, committed to serving the poor and needy irrespective of religion and ethnicity. They focus on empowering communities, aim for long-term development and see themselves as partners to the local church and the people they are serving. For more information, go to their website at


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