FERVENT: Justice and Poverty
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love o God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18
We live in a culture that spends a great deal of time discussing the needs of the poor and downtrodden. The church is often at the center of these conversations and many people speak enthusiastically about ways that the church can impact the lives of the needy. Unfortunately, there is often a disconnect in these conversations. People have a tendency to look to charities, civic groups, churches and the government to meet the needs of hurting people, while not realizing that the call to love through action is extended to themselves as followers of Christ. In his description of the early church Luke describes a people who cared for one another’s needs. They gave of what they had to provide for those around them (Acts 4). By obeying Christ in this way they demonstrated that the Gospel was not just a man-made philosophy or a way to establish a charitable organization, but an all-encompassing way of life. They had heeded Paul’s admonition to live as the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12).
We often hear the reminder to “be the church”. This is a challenge to live out what the Bible teaches; to show a lost world the love and grace that Christ offers. It’s a challenge to prefer others over yourself and to give to those in need. God established the church to function as his body in the world (Ephesians 1:18-23). Part of showing that we are the body of Christ is speaking truth in love, walking in a humble manner and giving to others in the same way that God so richly gave to us (Ephesians 4:15; Micah 6:8).
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8