Jesus spoke often about caring for the poor and downtrodden. But I, and maybe you, find it easy to forget that there are people who are worse off than me, that need help in ways I can't imagine. Even when money has been short, I've at least had a home and a peanut butter sandwich. I've never run out of gas without the ability to put more in the tank once I walk or catch a ride to the gas station.
But Jesus wants us to care for the poor. He treats it as something pretty significant.
This is a long passage here, but I hope you'll read it over before you continue.
"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My "Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 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; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to 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? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly, I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
"Then He will say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' Then they themselves will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Matthew 25:31-46 (NASB)
I won't get into an argument about faith versus works here. I do believe that our salvation comes by our faith in Jesus, not by the acts that we accomplish, but if we are going to take the words of Jesus seriously, we need to decide how we are going to respond to this passage. It is apparent that this is something Jesus sees as paramount, so we need to come to a decision about what we should be doing to help.
So please tell me what you think we as Christians should be doing to care for the poor. To what degree are we responsible? How much of our resources should we be giving? How much time should we be devoting? I want to hear what you think about the church caring for the poor.
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