God’s View of the Poor:
“Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.” 1 Peter 1:17
“Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”Acts 10:34-35
If we view the poor differently than God we are wrong. We are sinning. Seeing some people as more important, more valuable than any other people is wrong. This too is a sin.
“There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.” Romans 2:9-11
The state of our country now: riots, screaming, divisions, blaming, pointing of fingers; accusing, violence, fear.
This is wrong. We are wrong. Each of us must take responsibility for ourselves, for our own actions and attitudes.
“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?” James 2:5
Jesus’s view of the Poor:
“Looking at his disciples, he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God” Luke 6:20
“I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” Revelation 2:9
We should not see ourselves as better than anyone, and we should not see ourselves less than anyone. All are equal in value to God. This is the perspective we must have. Every person we meet is loved by God. When we look at someone we are looking into the face of someone loved by God.
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are” 1 Corinthians 1:26-28
“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?” James 2:6-7
Even in the courts of America, the “land of the free” if you have enough money you can get by not being punished for horrendous crimes (Shannon gives examples). Our money and accomplishments do not impress God. A sin is a sin. If we have committed a sin we are sinners, no better or worse than any other sinners (including those sins we in society would call the worst sins).
“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 and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.”If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.” James 2:8-11
If we fulfill the two greatest commandments we will fulfill the entire law. We will be doing God’s will. We will be honoring God. Love God and love people with all we are and all we have and all we do.
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 25:37-40
“Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment” James 2:12-13
If you see a need, fill it. If you can’t fill it on your own, seek the help of others. Do something. Do what you can. When God gives you an opportunity, take it. Don’t pass that open door. If you do you will regret it and wonder what God could have done.
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:14-17
There is often a lot of debate about faith vs. works but it is not an argument. We know we are saved by faith, not works. But if we have faith it will be visible in the things we do.
“But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” James 2:18-19
Go forth and Do!!
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:35-40