The Poor Will Always Be with You, but You Will Not Always Have Me.
Jesus said, “The poor will always be with you, but you will not always have me” (Matthew 26:11) The poor are among us; they have always been among us. Since the beginning of civilization poverty has been rampant, not due to their own happenstances. The Old Testament continually exhorts us to provide for the poor, by allowing those less fortunate to glean the edges of the fields and by offering them shelter, because it is clear that their misfortune is just that, misfortune. We live in a fallen world. People are poor and today 25,000 of them will die of hunger or hunger-related causes (United Nations).
We know that God provides, but we cannot know the scope of His plan for us. While he was able to provide for the people of Judea while he was walking the earth, he entrusted the care of the poor to us, His followers, after he was gone. Somehow we have forgotten this mission, and from this we have ceased to be His followers and remain only those He has saved. Malcom Muggeridge says that, “The depravity of man is at the same time the most empirically verifiable fact even as it is the most intellectually resisted.” We do not want to be called depraved. We want to live up to what Jesus has called for us, but somehow we are sidetracked. We are deceived, thinking that somehow God helps those who help themselves—but He wants us to help everyone. A pastor once said that a woman came up to him after service and asked him to pray for someone to come into her friend’s life to talk to him about Jesus. He said no, he would not pray for that. She was indignant and demanded to know why, and he would not pray for someone new when he had someone right in front of him to do God’s will.
Too often we’re mulled into thinking in terms of our own little world. Like Matt Maher’s song “In my own little world it hardly ever rains/I’ve never gone hungry, always felt safe/I got money in my pocket/shoes on my feet/in my own little world/population me” The world continually tells us that if we care for ourselves, we will be fine. But this notion disregards the two greatest commands given by Jesus: “‘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 22:27-40). We honor Him by our service to others, as he has saved us and provided for us. Poverty is the great destroyer of hope, but our God can do miraculous things—our God brings hope to the hopeless and love to the forgotten.
This is why our mission to Ukraine is so important. Despite the continual spiritual warfare, we are here, present for fellowship and honoring Christ in our work. We are doing His will among the people of Ukraine by assisting the missionaries already there. We are allowing the Spirit to lead our group to do His Will.
We pray for a spirit of humility, that we might consider others as better than ourselves, and may look to the interests of others before our own. May we strive for the mind of Christ. Amen.
May God bless you with discomfort.
Discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationship, so t hat you may live deep within you heart. Amen
May God bless you with anger.
Anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. Amen.
May God bless you with tears.
Tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain to joy. Amen.
May God bless you with foolishness.
Enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.
And may the blessing of God, who creates, redeems and sanctifies, be upon you and all you love and pray for this day, and forever more. Amen.