Thursday, September 16, 2010

Caring for the Poor

I'm watching the nightly news on NBC as I write this.  The opening story tonight was about poverty in America.  It was heartbreaking.  About 43 million people in America are living in poverty.  20% of children live in poverty.  It's a problem that is sweeping our nation, and taking victims right and left.  Therefore it's a hot topic on how much involvement (if any) government should have in solving this problem.  I'm not going to write about that tonight, although, as many of you know, I sure could.  I, of course, have an opinion on government roles, but that's not where I'm going tonight.

I'm ready for the day when the nightly news reports that poverty is at an all-time low, due to the evangelical church's involvement.  I'm ready for the day when the report shows how unity amongst evangelicals has led to less arguing, and more problem solving and action.  I'm ready for the day when that report turns people to Jesus inadvertently because no one can see these statistics and not turn to Him.

So, how can that happen?  Am I just an idealist who needs a reality check?  I don't think so.  I think the church has to get back to the foundation of faith.  We need to care more about Jesus's gospel agenda then the Tea Party's anti-government agenda.  We need to care more about the gospel agenda then the Democratic Party's more government agenda.  Because, in the end, both fail.  Neither one can give lasting, eternal hope.  Sure, both boast that they can solve the problem in the here and now, but that's not the end of it.  But the Church, through Jesus, can offer the eternal answer.

Proverbs 31:8-9 says, "Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy."  I don't see conditions in there.  Like, only support the poor if they are actively trying to find a job.  Or, only support those who have graduated from high school.  Or only help those that are legal.  Or, only support those who haven't made poor life choices.  I see a pretty broad, and pointed, command to Christians to defend those in need.  Now, I'm not advocating hand-outs, but I am advocating active, life-long support to those who are in need.  Without condition.  Because the grace of God has no conditions.  We are poor and needy, and without our Savior, we have nothing.  We can't make judgements that keep people out- we have to fight for everyone.

One of my favorite quotes is from Tim Keller, when he said, "When a Christian sees prostitutes, alcoholics, prisoners, drug addicts, unwed mothers, the homeless, the refugees, he knows that he is looking in the mirror.  He thinks, 'spiritually I was just like these people, even though physically and socially I was never where they are now.  They are outcasts.  I was an outcast."

Let's stop pitting us against them.  Let's stop crippling the love of Christ.  Let's stop following a Mormon, and follow Jesus Christ, whose lasting, eternal hope can literally change the world.

1 comment:

  1. I know that a lot of us... yeah i said us cause I am mainly talking about myself. Anyway, we feel we cannot give because we do not have. NOT TRUE!!!!! We are spoiled Americans. Hello???... We have houses for our cars. People, (Robynn) wake up and GIVE. Money is easiest to give and blessed are the ones that have enough to donate. But time and effort are more personal larger sacrifices. They need financial donors for sure but we also need to show our love in person. I have never lived in poverty but I would imagine that it would mean more to me that someone wanted to physically provide for me, shake my hand, wash my feet, hold my baby than show up in their big SUV hand over a check then peace out. Jesus was homeless and impacted the poor with his love and so should we. Give your money if you have it to give but give of yourself too.