The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. Matthew 26:11
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free Luke 4:18
But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. Luke 11:41
Yesterday, I wrote about some definitions of poor, and I talked about “poor in Spirit”. Today, I am talking about poverty- being financially or resource poor. I pulled out just a very few quotes which discuss how Jesus felt about responding to the needs of the poor around us. He made it clear that if the gospel is not being lived out by ministering to the needs of those around us, it is not the gospel.
Over the centuries, there have been responses to this from some church folks. There was, early in the 20th century, a reaction to the “Social Gospel”, meaning that there was concern that the church should not get overly involved in social issues, but should concentrate on personal salvation. “Make sure that people make a decision for Jesus, that is the intent of the gospel” they said.
Some would even use Matthew 26:11 as justification for de-emphasizing the church’s role in helping the poor in their community. “The poor will always be with us, so trying to end poverty is pointless” they seemed to say.
It is indeed true that there will always be poverty, and that cannot be ended by money and social programs. Yet, we are called to help meet the physical and spiritual needs in our community. It is the point of the gospel- that saving grace must be actual grace displayed to others, regardless of their state.
So, our job is to live out the grace given to us so freely by God through his son, Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, help us to be channels of grace to our community, Amen.