A few weeks back in our Galatian messages, we saw how Paul was directed by the Apostles in Jerusalem to keep preaching the gospel of justification by faith. They only added one proviso, that in his mission he ‘remember the poor’. (Gal 2:10). Jesus had reminded His disciples that ‘the poor are with you always’. (Matt 26:11). There will always be people who are poor, who require our support. The early church particularly accepted responsibility for the most vulnerable……especially orphans and widows. (James 1:27 and Acts 6:1-4).
How do we remember the poor?
What can we do both individually and corporately?
One proverb that demanded my attention recently was Proverbs 13:23.
A poor man’s field may produce abundant food but injustice sweeps it away.
At times we may be guilty of passing judgment on why someone may be poor or struggling. For example Costly decisions, unrestrained spending, rejecting advice, living beyond their means, divorce or family breakdown.
This proverb however tells us that some people are poor through no fault of their own. They work to produce but are robbed of their reward by injustice. The poor in our world may be the victims of unscrupulousness, and the scheming of others to deprive them of what should rightfully be theirs. They are powerless to stand up for themselves. Injustice has many faces. Helping these poor can involve helping to improve the systems they depend upon. Ensuring there are adequate structures in place so they can be justly rewarded and compensated.
There’s another Proverb that reminds us that supporting and giving to the poor carries a blessing to the giver. He who gives to the poor, lends to the Lord. – Proverbs 19:17
That certainly puts a different perspective on it. You can be sure you’ll get your money back from the Bank of Heaven! Remembering the poor is part of the gospel, and a Christian obligation.
# Father we thank you for blessing us with abundant resources. For our own needs, and the needs of others.
# Give us eyes to see people in need around us. and grace to share with them.
# Please give us fresh resolve to work to change any unjust structures or systems that impact on people’s lives.
# We pray for those in our own families and church, whose businesses and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by COVID. We pray for their strength and wisdom to emerge from this time. May they experience your love and power.
In Jesus Name, Amen
SONG: The Servant Song by Servant of the Lion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdmgpMfnjdU