Inspiration for Health Ministry, by LEM

Searching for the Lost Coin

Searching for the Lost Coin

Ministry to the Poor and Homeless (For this study, read also: Ministry of Healing Chapter 12, > Chapter 13)


Many people who are degraded by addictions as well as mental and physical diseases associated with homelessness and poverty are like the lost coin in Christ’s parable – even though it was on the floor with the trash and dust, it still bears the original image and value. The same is true for those who are lost in the problems of life – they still bear the image of God and are valuable because God created them and loves them. Helping them to find life, help and hope is like finding that coin and shining it up again, which will help the original value to shine forth.

Society itself is often the cause of people’s financial problems, injustice in business has led the world to poverty (see quotes at the bottom of this page).  We especially see this in countries where big industries have taken over the ability for small, individual families to earn a living, as well as changing environment due to pollution and climate, which cause people to have to seek jobs in the cities where they live in poverty with little chance of making a decent living.

          The principles of the Bible are the answer for society, because they teach diligence and industry as well as temperance that can lead people to seek an education and avoid life-destroying addictions.  The Bible also teaches principles of social justice which were intended to prevent a huge disparity between rich and poor (such as providing for the poor through allowing them to glean in the fields of the rich, and the year of Jubilee, etc.)

1. Who are the poor?

   There are two kinds of poor - those who are poor due to lack of diligence, and those who are poor by no fault of their own.  Not all poor are lazy and unwilling to work or just wanting to gain something for free from the government.  Especially in times of economic difficulty, such as recent years in the US, there are many people who can't find work no matter how much they try.  In working with those of low financial income it's good to realize that not everyone wants help, but some will listen. The following classes are those who are at risk for poverty, for various reasons;

   Single mothers, elderly, orphans, etc.

   Unemployed and homeless

   Those with physical or mental disabilities

   Those with addictions

2. How should the church respond to poor people in our society?

   "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."  James 1:27, NKJV

  The church has responsibility to the poor. Why has God blessed the church? Our riches are not for us only, they are for us to share with those who are in need, they are God’s gifts.

   John 6:12 “Gather the fragments”- We can have enough means for helping others if we save in little ways.

   As we care for them, God works a miracle on our hearts...

  "Many a father, when called upon to part from his loved ones, has died resting in faith upon God’s promise to care for them. The Lord provides for the widow and the fatherless, not by a miracle in sending manna from heaven, not by sending ravens to bring them food; but by a miracle upon human hearts, expelling selfishness, and unsealing the fountains of Christlike love. The afflicted and bereaved ones He commits to His followers as a precious trust. They have the very strongest claim upon our sympathy." {Ministry of Healing, Chapter 13, pg. 202.5}

3. How can we help the poor?

   Sympathy; Consider the hardships of those who are poor- try to help, mothers need encouragements, children have so many inducements to evil.


  Developing a relationship with families in need, especially when they have lost their own loved ones.  For example, children who have lost fathers can benefit from developing a caring relationship with men in the church who will mentor and encourage them.

   Clothing selling cheap (Dorcas, Adventist Community Services, other charities), orphanages, food bags for needy families, helping fix things around the house, provide transportation, putting them in touch with community resources and many other things.

   Helping and teaching is even more valuable than money.  Principles of education can change the world.  For example; industrial training, some skill, help them find a job. Example; high school shop teacher went as a missionary to Africa, teaching small engine repair and woodworking.


Helping the Homeless, Unemployed

   Good examples; Some places help them get a job by doing training, help them get an address, place to shower, new clothing for an interview, free medical clinics, etc.

   Some social programs provide needed help for those in distress, but at the same time some social programs can perpetuate poverty by encouraging people to be dependent on free resources without trying to work.

Working with those with addictions

   Understand the process of addiction

   Slowly addiction develops over the years.  Coffee may be act as a lead-in addiction

   Drinking and other drug use can be like a pet snake – you may think you’re safe, but addiction could strike when you go through a difficult time

   Patience is required, there is often backsliding with those who struggle with addictions

   Encourage independence and commitment to work for change themselves

   Hereditary and cultivated tendencies for evil may be overcome

   Understand the power of choice and will

   How to break free from the power of habit- pg 351 “multitudes long for a better life, but they lack courage and resolution to break away from the power of habit.”   

   Encourage them not to be afraid to approach God, share Isaiah 55:9 "“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts." Example; Someone who was struggling with long-term alcohol addiction said he was afraid to pray because he keeps backsliding. When I shared this verse to show Him that God isn't like human beings who easily get tired of someone who backslides, because His thoughts are so much higher than ours, he seemed very encouraged to keep praying and seeking God.

   Story of someone who quit smoking through friendship ministry and support- a good example of health evangelism (she was also interested in healthy cooking and natural remedies).

   1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Ellen White Quotes: Who was Ellen White? ; Ellen White named by Smithsonian among the 100 most significant Americans of all time , EGW Link 2

God’s Regulations Prevent Social Injustice

The Lord would place a check upon the inordinate love of property and power. Great evils would result from the continued accumulation of wealth by one class, the poverty and degradation of another. Without some restraint, the power of the wealthy would become a monopoly, and the poor, though in every respect fully as worthy in God’s sight, would be regarded and treated as inferior to their more prosperous brethren.

The sense of this oppression would arouse the passions of the poorer class. There would be a feeling of despair and desperation which would tend to demoralize society and open the door to crimes of every description. The regulations that God established were designed to promote social equality. The provisions of the sabbatical year and the jubilee would, in a great measure, set right that which during the interval had gone wrong in the social and political economy of the nation.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 534 (1890).

Many Saved From Degradation

I have been shown that the medical missionary work will discover, in the very depths of degradation, men who once possessed fine minds, richest qualifications, who will be rescued by proper labor from their fallen condition. It is the truth as it is in Jesus that is to be brought before human minds after they have been sympathetically cared for and their physical necessities met. The Holy Spirit is working and cooperating with the human agencies that are laboring for such souls, and some will appreciate the foundation upon a rock for their religious faith. {MM 242.3}

There is to be no startling communication of strange doctrine to these subjects whom God loves and pities; but as they are helped physically by the medical missionary workers, the Holy Spirit cooperates with the minister of human agencies to arouse the moral powers. The mental powers are awakened into activity, and these poor souls will, many of them, be saved in the kingdom of God.--Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers, No. 11, page 32. {MM 242.4}

The Poor Not to Be Neglected

We are living in the last days of this earth's history, and medical missionary work is to be all that the name signifies. To the poor the gospel is to be preached. The poor man as well as the rich man is the object of God's special care and attention.  {MM 243.1}


Those who have the truth for these last days will bear a message adapted to the poor. One would think that the gospel was inspired in order to reach this class. Christ came to the earth to walk and work among the poor. To the poor He preached the gospel. His work is the gospel worked out on medical missionary lines--in justice, mercy, and the love of God which is the sure fruit borne because the tree is good. And today in the person of His believing, working children, who move under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Christ visits the poor and the needy, relieving want and alleviating suffering.--Letter 83, 1902. {MM 243.2}