Jesus and the Poor, Part Three
Some have stated that they fear that if we emphasize the healing ministry of Jesus too much, then we will lose our focus on evangelism. If we give too much of our resources to help the poor, then we won’t have enough to evangelize the world. But Jesus did both. He is our model. We are to walk in his steps. God has the resources for us to evangelize the world and to help the poor. Psalm 50:11 says the whole world is God’s and everything in it.
I have a different fear. I fear the greed and materialism of our Western world crushing our compassion for the poor and the lost. I fear us becoming a big, fat, greedy, materialistic institutionalized denomination that has stopped practicing the compassion and love of Jesus because we are disconnected from the poor, the starving, the sick, the naked, the uneducated, and the dying, hundreds of thousands of people on this planet that we step over, step away from, and step around each day, instead of allowing our hearts to be moved by their situation and stepping up to help them. That’s what I fear.
I fear the “American Dream,” that says we are entitled to enjoy our wealth while others fight to survive on nothing. The “American Dream” might be our worst nightmare. I fear us getting so enamored with nice things that we lose sight of the millions and millions of people who have no-thing. Jesus never challenged us to fear helping the poor, but he did challenge us to be aware the deceitfulness of wealth. Perhaps if we would get back into the Bible and be a people of the Book then we would learn what we ought to be afraid of -- namely, materialism, the love of money, the deceitfulness of wealth, the hoarding up of possessions, and greed, which is idolatry. Helping the poor, seeing the faces of the poor, caring for the poor, will remind us of those materialistic evils that can destroy our hearts and cost us our souls.
There is always the potential to drift away from the teaching of Scripture. I get that. That’s why we have to constantly go back to the Word and check what we are doing with the Word. It’s always safe to take it back to the Bible. It’s always safe to take it back to Jesus. What would Jesus do? Where do the steps of Jesus lead? As I get older, all I want to do is to learn more and more to be and act like Jesus. I want to sit at his feet and learn from him. I love the gospels and spend most of my time in the gospels. I want to be with Jesus, not just in the hereafter, but in the here and now.
If I want to walk in the steps of Jesus, his steps lead to the poor. His steps don’t lead around the poor or away from poor. They lead directly to the poor. Jesus went preaching, teaching, and healing. We need to embrace the healing ministry of Jesus and do our part to go and live as Jesus lived.