By Peter Kennedy
“All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” – Galatians 2:10.
According to Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, the person who has had the single greatest impact on addressing global poverty in the past 25 years is a largely unknown World Vision staffer named Steve Reynolds.
In 1985, a young Steve Reynolds was working in Ethiopia, during what was the worst famine of a generation. Steve spent many dreary days in the relief camps as an eyewitness to the horrors of massive starvation and death, gathering information that he hoped would provoke people to notice and respond.
One day he got a call from headquarters asking if he would host a young European couple, Ali and Paul Hewson, who wanted to visit and learn firsthand what was happening. Steve was willing to help. Ali and Paul stayed almost a month, rolling up their sleeves to help and showing tireless compassion. Paul was a musician, so he entertained the kids by writing little songs. Paul and Ali finally went home but not before they had committed to do whatever they could to help. You may know Paul better by his nickname, Bono.
Since that trip in 1985, Bono, the lead singer of the Irish rock group U2, has traveled the globe as an advocate for the poorest of the poor. He has met with kings and queens, presidents, prime ministers, and the pope. He has lobbied members of parliaments and congresses. He has persuaded governments to appropriate billions of dollars of aid to the poor.
But in a later interview with Christianity Today, Bono specifically mentioned the key influence of Steve Reynolds. Bono said, “All of this started for me in Ethiopia in the mid-’80s, when my darling wife and I went out there as children, really, to see and to work in Africa.”
Twenty-seven years later Steve Reynolds still works for World Vision working behind the scenes on behalf of the world’s poorest people.
We need to continually remember the poor and help provide for their basic needs. Today in prayer, ask Jesus how you can tangibly serve others this week.
“When we serve the poor and the sick, we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus.” – Isabel Flores de Oliva
God’s Word: “After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings.” – Acts 24:17.