Give a Fish or Teach to Fish?

Cross supports education and microenterprise programs that promote development.

There is an old saying that goes: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The second part of that saying is the goal of much of the work we do to help the poor here at Cross.

However, during staff devotions this morning we were reminded of how important the first part is, as well. Our newest projects officer recently returned from Central America. It was his first time visiting some of the projects we support there, and he was struck by the impact of our elderly feeding programs — those meeting an immediate need rather than supporting development.

Cross also meets the poor’s more immediate needs through feeding programs for the sick, elderly, and vulnerable children.

“These programs provide palliative care to deal with the effects of poverty. As we minister to the more immediate needs of these people, we are expressing the love of Christ in a very real way,” he explained. “Yes, it is important to teach people how to fish, so to speak, but what about the people who are too old or sick or unable to learn how to fish? Should we just forget about them?”

It is clear from Matthew 18:14 — “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” — that every person is important to God.

Giving an elderly woman a daily meal is just as meaningful in God’s eyes as supporting a scholarship or microenterprise program. Both are meeting important needs of the poor and, in the process, sharing the gospel of Christ with them.

Click here to learn more about what Cross is doing to meet both the immediate and long-term needs of the poor in Latin America.

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