The Poor

The Poor

Dear Friends,

There are many things in our society that we, as Christians, are called to process, confront, engage and deal with for which there just doesn’t seem to be an answer for how to fix the problem.  It’s very easy to become frustrated, throw up our hands and just do nothing.  Yet, God’s Word never commends those who ignore those who are hurting around us.  Paul tells us that in order to fulfill the law of Christ we must “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal 5:6).  That speaks to the “others first” orientation of Christianity.  It is why humility, meekness, gentility, generosity and love, among other virtues, are so highly praised in the life of a believer.

One of those issues we must contend with is poverty.  Jesus said, “The poor will always be with you…” (Matt. 26:11) and that has proven to be true.  Even the mighty U.S. government can’t figure out how to end poverty.  Frankly, even if we all gave half of everything we have to the poor, many would still remain poor.  Even if somehow, we were able to give everyone a job, there would be many who would not take the job and would remain in a state of perpetual poverty.  Of course, the definition of poor changes as well.  The higher we raise the minimum wage the higher the poverty level raises keeping pace with inflation.  If we then throw in the desperately poor of the world, outside of the United States, the whole situation is completely overwhelming.

The Apostle Paul had much to say about the poor and why we should have compassion on those less fortunate than ourselves.  In 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 he says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”   Those verses cover a lot but when applied to the poor and hopeless it means; God didn’t give up on comforting and helping us, we shouldn’t give up on allowing God’s comfort and help to flow from us to others in need.

It truly was my joy to help our team serve at Manna House this past Saturday.  We had fewer helpers than normal but everyone got busy, prepared the food, packed the bags, filled the cups with water and iced tea and got ready to serve lunch to all who came.  Would they have gone hungry if we had not shown up?  Some yes, others probably not but that was not for us to judge and it certainly was not our reason for being there.  As the bagged lunches were being handed out, I had the opportunity to go outside and interact with some of those we were serving.  Some joked with me, they laughed at my skinny white legs! I laughed right along with them.  Some asked me to pray with them and I saw Brenda praying with others that she took the opportunity to engage.  At one point I looked up and saw Amy and Lisa giving hugs as well as lunch to some of the ladies in line.  Many who were there have very real worries, hurts and concerns and I was honored that we as a group were able to help bear, or at least momentarily lighten, their burdens.  I pray that they saw the love of God in our words and actions and that perhaps, in the future, they will be comfortable enough with us, to have a spiritual conversation about their true need of salvation.

Yes, the poor will always be with us.  Some of them are coarse, some have mental challenges, others smell badly and a few are scary.  However, without exception, they have all been made in the image of God just like us and every last one is loved by our Heavenly Father.  “Lord, allow us to see them through Your eyes!”

Only by Grace!

Pastor Mike