Thursday, July 13, 2006

Eyes for the Poor

I stayed up way past my bedtime last night. My son Josh and his wife Kayci were in town. Josh spoke at our church last night, and did an incredible job.

Josh has such a passion for the poor. So, we stayed up late -- sitting on the patio talking about the plight of the poor, and the failure of the government, the church, etc. to adequately address this issue. We've all heard people say, "God helps those who help themselves." That's not in Scripture. In fact, when it comes to spiritual matters -- that statement is even unbiblical. But Paul does say, "If a man will not work, he shall not eat" (2 Thess. 5: 8). And he said that anyone who does not provide for for his family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Tim. 5: 8).

So, yes, those verses address those who refuse to work. But people are poor for any number of reasons. And there is no way to morally place them all in the same box. I was especially convicted last night as Josh said that, for the most part -- we never even see the poor. They live "over there." Rarely do we even encounter them.

I want to challenge us today to have the eyes of Jesus. And let His words from Matthew 25 penetrate our hearts and work on our consciences today:
"Then the righteous will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, our thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"


Liz Moore said...

I think God is speaking to a lot of us about this issue. Chris and I were just talking about that this week. Most people in America live paycheck to paycheck. You would probably need to have about 6 months salary in savings to really make it if you suddenly found yourself without a job. Most people today probably don't have that. So if you look at things that way, a lot of the world is just one paycheck away from being homeless or poor. If we would begin to realize that, we might not be so quick to judge others or say they live over there. I believe that all of us who have jobs are blessed and should pass that blessing on as often as we can.

Randy said...

Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

Our committment to live like Jesus was heartily challenged last night. I appreciated what Josh said. I feel indicted everytime I read what James wrote-

"You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

May God help us to see things as His Son did and help us to find new ways to reach those who don't know Him.

Josh Ross said...

I enjoyed the conversation we had last night. It was very, very rich.

This is more than just an "issue" called poverty, this is about people. Hurting people. Broken people.

The problem isn't that Christians don't care about the poor, but rather that the large majority of Christians do not know the poor.

Besides idolatry, no subject in Scripture is addressed more than poverty. Isaiah, Amos, Luke, Acts, etc.

It is imperative for churches to begin asking questions concerning Christ's portrayal of what the Kingdom of God is to look like. The goal IS NOT to minister to the poor. The goal IS NOT just to get the poor into our churches. (Many are already there.) The goal is can the rich and poor, white and black, black and Hispanic, old and young EAT AT THE SAME TABLE? That is when the Kingdom of God has come.