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Discovery Magazine 1/1/2018

Helping Animals is Not the Same as Helping People

Recently I have heard or read stories about young people who want to help their communities. The way some of them have chosen to help is by volunteering their time to feed and take care of animals at the pet shelter. I have even heard of some kids who donate all their Christmas money to buy chew toys for animals. While there is nothing wrong with this, we need to understand that helping animals is not the same as helping people.

In the New Testament, God tells Christians to take care of widows and orphans (James 1:27). Jesus also explained that any time we help someone who is hungry, thirsty, or in need of clothes or a place to stay, then it is as if we are being kind to Jesus (Matthew 25:34-40). Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan and showed us that our “neighbor” is anyone who needs our help (Luke 10:30-37). God wants us to help other people who are poor and needy. He never tells us to help animals in this way.

You see, when you help a person, you are helping someone who is made in the image of God. You are helping someone whom Christ died to save and who is valuable because that person is a human. But animals are not made in God’s image and Christ did not die to save them. Animals are not people. While it might be fine to spend your time volunteering at an animal shelter, it would be much better to spend your time helping at a soup kitchen that feeds homeless people or a nursing home for older folks. Wouldn’t it be much better to use your resources, such as Christmas money or birthday money, to help children who are orphans than it would be to buy chew toys for animals? When God tells us to help the “poor and needy,” He is talking about people who are made in His image, not animals.

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