"Only in Heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them."
I just don't have time between work, home, kids, and all my family obligatoins. I am barely making ends meet in my own household, so there's no way I could give to those people. They didn't go to school or work as hard as me...helping them would be a reward for their poor choices. Anyway, it's depressing. I don't want to dwell on other people's pain.
We live in a culture that encourages us to dismiss the poor...to neglect their needs...to rationalize their hurts away as being the fruits of their bad living. Followers of Jesus, however, follow Him to the poor and needy.
- Jesus describes His mission in relation to the poor. In Luke 4:18, he proclaims, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free..."
- He declares the blessing of the kingdom on the poor (Matthew 5:3; Luke 6:20).
- He reveals that God will judge the nations specifically on the way they treated the poor, and insists that he has aligned his own plight with the plight of the poor (Matthew 25: 31-45).
- He establishes poverty as critical for the discipleship of some (Matthew 19:21).
- He cites generosity to the poor as a sign of salvation for some (Luke 19:8).
- He recognizes exemplary models of generosity and piety in the poor (Mark 12:42-44; Luke 16:20).
- He exhorts us to celebrate with the poor and to give knowing we will not be repaid (Luke 14: 12-14).
God has a long-standing commitment to the poor, and the ministry of Jesus and His earliest followers brought it to fruition. How should understanding this commitment affect our own relationship to money, people, and service?