Why is it that we tend to be very charitable toward people, as long as it doesn’t get messy!?
The vast majority of American Evangelicals don’t mind giving whatever change they have in their pockets to a homeless person, just so they’ll leave them alone.
Or, they’d simply rather write a check to the church so the clergy can do the dirty work.
But is that enough?
Is that really what God has called us to? After all, He tells us over and over again in His word to help the poor.
Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost our sensitivity to helping the poor.
In many cases, we’ve simply been disobedient to God’s call.
I’ve been challenged by this verse recently, and thought I’d share it with you:
…and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
(Galatians 2:9-10 ESV)
Here’s the context of this passage. Paul is writing to the Galatians about his experience when he met the other apostles for the first time.
Remember, Paul was formerly known as Saul, the murderer of Christians. Jesus got a hold of him, changed his life and his name, and Paul became the greatest missionary for the gospel the world has every known.
So, the apostles would’ve been a little apprehensive about meeting Paul for the first time. But, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas (Paul’s missionary buddy) and Paul. In other words, they accepted them.
What the apostles told him though, was to remember the poor. And Paul said, “I am eager to remember them!”.
Webster defines Eager as: marked by enthusiastic or impatient desire or interest.
In other words, Paul couldn’t wait to help the poor!
This is what he enjoyed doing the most! He was enthusiastic in his desire to help the poor!
It’s interesting isn’t it? Of all the things the apostles could’ve told Paul, they mentioned this.
They could’ve said, “Remember to pack an extra pair of sandals”, or “Remember to preach the gospel boldly”.
Maybe they did say those things, but it’s not recorded.
What is recorded, however, is that they said, “Remember the poor”!
In other words, “Paul, don’t forget to help the poor, because God has a heart for the weak, the oppressed, the marginalized. And don’t forget the poor, because Jesus, though he was rich, became poor for your sake, so that through his poverty, you might become rich!” (2 Cor. 8:9).
So, let me ask you, like I’ve been asking myself: