For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to the poor, and to the needy, in the land.
– Deuteronomy 15:11
There is no doubt Monsignor Vincent Blackett is at one with the Old Testament prophet Moses and with the Saviour Jesus, in the expressed commitment that we should lend a hand to our needy brother that our hearts be not grieved, for in giving, the Lord our God would bless us in all our works and all that we put our hands to.
The heeding of this counsel will very well shower blessings upon us and our land, seeing us pull ourselves out of the grasps of lack and uncertainty; doubt and lethargy.
And as public service job losses –– hundreds of them –– continue to stare us in the face, why as a church people, why as a widened church grouping can we not determine we will help those much less fortunate than we are, whose fate is more or less sealed, and in God’s name go about our business quietly and assuredly lending that hand to our fellowman? As Monsignor Blackett has advised, there is no necessity for competition in the giving. We can do even more collectively.
The head of the Barbados Christian Council sees this collective response from churches as a more efficient and effective way of dealing with the layoff of thousands of our Government workers.
Of course, this is not to diminish the work already being done by churches and other organizations, but maybe the time has come for the pooling of resources, as the monsignor has suggested, to reach out to communities as a unit.
Still, if every single person can be of assistance to another in whatever small way, it will certainly add to the determination on the way forward in saving our society from collapse into deep want, crime and chaos.
Together, individually, with the church, with God’s enduring grace, we can be –– as a society –– our very own social refuge, reaching out to our village neighbours, our fellow churchgoers, our youth seeking role models, our school students, our disabled, and our shut-ins who will surely value and appreciate our help.
We encourage our more fortunate Barbadians to join joyously in the giving that our church leaders are suggesting, familiarizing themselves with the needs of those around them, opening their hands wide to their lesser fortunate brothers and sisters, and doing so without the sound of the trumpet before it.
The task of saving Barbados rests not only on the shoulders of the politicians. We the people too must play our part.
We do not ask that we lumber about in sack cloth and ashes, but that we be prudent in the things we would wish for as against those we really need, leaving luxuries for sometime later; that in our purchases we give priority to things Bajan; that we give thought to more personal cost management; that we make more communal effort on the things we decide.
We must never veer from our ancestors’ teaching that better is possible and within our reach, with the right attitude and hard work, and with God’s help –– and that we will not leave our needy behind.