Daily Bible Reading: Isaiah 58

I think Isaiah 58 should be required reading. I encourage you to read the entire chapter.
[5] You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the LORD? [6] “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. [7] Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Isaiah 58:5-7 NLT
As I read this chapter, I could not help but think about some of the challenges we face in our communities. We do not find words within this chapter suggesting it is acceptable to turn our backs on (or hide from) those in need. Nor do we find words suggesting we turn over our responsibilities to impersonal government programs. I may be wrong, but I believe we choose those options primarily because they make us comfortable. On one hand, we can close our eyes to the people around us, and pretend they and their needs do not exist (or perhaps they deserve what they have). On the other hand, we can develop programs and agencies where somebody else is paid to provide care. Either way, our hands never have to get dirty dealing with real people, our neighbors with real needs.
What we find in this chapter is God’s desire, which always includes personal involvement, personal relationships with people in need. It is not somebody’s job. It is ours. It is mine. So, who is your neighbor? What are they dealing with today? How might you be able to come along side of them and lighten their burden?