Friday, February 25, 2011

A Christian's Two Cents

"Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all." Proverbs 22:2

Tomorrow, it's supposed to snow in the Bay Area. Crazy, isn't it? Sure, it gets cold here, but rarely does it snow! First off, you should know -- if you don't already know :) -- that I have a heart for the poor and needy. The homeless, regardless of how they got there, lack wealth -- monetarily and in spirit. What do they live for? Family, if they have any. Certainly not their jobs! If you read the Bible, you will find numerous verses saying to help the poor. Saturday, it's supposed to snow. Where will the homeless be? Definitely not curled up in a blanket with hot cocoa watching television. Some people give their time volunteering at soup kitchens -- but those only get you so far. What, then, is our job as Christians to help? Okay, if you don't have a heart as passionate as mine about this -- which clearly isn't saying much because I'm such a weenie and haven't done anything yet --  just hear me out. Open up your hearts and mind to the idea and let God do the tugging, nudging, kick in the butt or whatever, not me! :)

Everybody is a Somebody
Shocking, I know. In a world where we always have class systems (schools, races, even gender), Jesus spreads a different message. He tells us that, "believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism" (James 2:1). Now listen to His reasoning: "Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong? If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin" (James 2:2-8). Folks, discrimination gets you NOWHERE. In fact, in the past, it's led to disasters (Civil War, Hitler, etc.). Christians have it hard because we're different. Homeless have it hard because they're different too. Society says different is bad, but if God created each person that's ever walked the face of the earth uniquely, than shouldn't we look upon "different" favorably as well? Less favoritism; more loving.

Our Job
Obviously, God is in control of everything. But if we're the body, we should be the arms reaching. If we're the bride of Christ, then out of love, we should give our all to Him. If He is our friend -- our BEST friend -- shouldn't we give 110% to Him? I know I fall short in this area -- but so do you. We could all do a lot better. Omitting a cuss word, speaking kindly to someone you'd rather punch in the face, loving the unlovable, etc. We should have trouble not blurting out how much He loves us to complete strangers. But no ... we live life day by day, wishing our lives were more exciting. What could be more exciting than serving Him?! This is all hypocritical of me to say -- one of my biggest pet peeves!!! -- but it's also true. God wants us to serve Him, and maybe, that call to serve Him is for the poor. We have to "Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy" (Proverbs 31:9). Maybe you're meant to serve politically for Him. But guys, God says we're "called to be free," but not so we can indulge and fatten ourselves with our desires, but rather, that we "serve one another humbly in love" (Galatians 5:13). We're not supposed to look at our own interests, but put the interests of others first (Philippians 2:4). Helping a friend isn't a problem. But suddenly when it's for someone we don't like or someone seemingly undeserving -- say, the homeless -- we shrink back and go, "that's alright, someone else can do it." No, "do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him" (2 Chronicles 29:11). Suddenly, it's a little different, isn't it? He's standing in front of us, asking, "Child, I love you, but I wish you would do what I've called you to do." And trust me, He's got an unfathomable plan for your life, because God "works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose" (Philippians 2:13).

Failure to Answer your Call
"Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." ~Proverbs 14:31

"Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered." ~Proverbs 21:13

Those are only a couple verses (about the poor) which deal with punishment. Trust me, He's got a wrath hefty enough to flood the earth. If you want to face that, go ahead. But God wants us to answer His call, not ignore it! How rude is it when you don't answer His call, simply because you're scared? Not only is it rude, but you're being retarded. I've played retarded for too long and I'm ready to stop ignoring calls but instead answer cheerily as soon as I hear the ring. I had a ministry idea, but at this point, it won't happen due to time constraints. Now, I just have to pursue my passion along with the ministry idea, but make sure it actually works out :) I take heart knowing this: "Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done" (Proverbs 19:17). Poor in wealth, poor in spirit. Wealth and honor come from the Lord, but He has the strength and power to work through you (1 Chronicles 29: 12). He'll reward you (on earth, heaven, or even both! He's pretty gracious :)

The Golden Rule: Treat Others the Way You Want to be Treated
Jesus stressed so often that we aren't worthy. We're not. But Jesus stressed even more that He is a merciful God, who is willing to love us anyways. Insane? Yes, but so amazing! God is our King, and he beckons us, "Come [...] take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world" (Matthew 25:34). Spiritually, we were homeless until we found God. When we're hungry, He feeds us; when we're thirsty, He provides a drink; when we're strangers, He invites us in (Matthew 25:35). If we do the same for others, we're serving God. For as Matthew 25:40 says, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

Carpe Diem [Sieze the Day]
God calls the ones who bring good news, proclaim peace, salvation, and bring good tidings "beautiful" (Isaiah 52:7). Yes, I want you to go out and help the poor (in every meaning of the word "poor"). However, I don't want you to do something Christ hasn't called you personally to tackle. Instead, pray for His will in how He wants you to serve. He'll come near to you if you come near to Him (James 4:8). If You think He's calling you to do something, but you're not certain, test it. For if it's God's wisdom, it is "first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere (James 3:17). I hope Jesus praises us like He did for the widow, who "put more into the treasury than all others," even if it was only a few cents (Mark 12:41-42). I hope I give everything to Him with the right heart -- everything I have to live on.

P.S. Yes, I did say most of this tongue in cheek because I have a lot of work to do too! Keep in mind I do for many of my blog posts haha. But honestly, just think about what He's asking you to do. That's all I ask.

No comments:

Post a Comment