There is always some new ministry or program to help the poor, homeless, hungry, addicted or hurting. What is the real solution to the problems we see in our country and community? Is it education? Is it more money?
Jesus himself said, “You will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.” Does this mean he didn’t care about the poor? Of course not in fact he said, “I have come to preach the good news to the poor.” What exactly is that good news then? It’s that we can receive eternal life found in the Son of God. While being poor is something no one wants to be it isn’t the worst thing that can happen. The worst thing to happen to someone would be for them to die without ever receiving Jesus Christ as their savior.
As strange as it may sound; on the surface one could actually make the case that poor people have it better than the rich. Jesus said, “It is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” Rich people have a harder time seeing their need of Jesus because they seemingly have everything they could ever need or want. The poor, on the other hand, can see clearly they are needy therefore will be quicker to respond to an invitation to receive the free gift of salvation.
Reading the Sermon on the Mount becomes a little clearer when seen from this perspective. Blessed are the poor, those that mourn; the meek, the hungry and thirsty etc. It is only when we are honest about our lack that Jesus Christ can come to be our supply. As long as we think we’re holding it together God will let us try because he doesn’t muscle his way in. Jesus only comes in where he’s invited.
On the flip side of this equation there is a call for us to minister to the needy. We don’t get off the hook when it comes to giving others a hand. In fact Jesus said, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat: I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink: I was a stranger and you took me in: Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.” His hearers said, “When did we see you this way?” Jesus’ response was “Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me.” Wow! Jesus so identifies himself with us that he says it is he that we are doing these things for and not just some needy person. This does shine a little light on the subject doesn’t it? If we could only start to see others as Christ we may be a little more charitable, patient, kind and so on.
Thanksgiving is coming up, and I would challenge you to find someone you can give to this Thanksgiving. It may be nothing more than a ride or a couple dollars; maybe it is even inviting them to eat dinner with you one night but whatever it is see it as giving to Jesus Christ and it may change your outlook on that person and situation.
Written by Louie