It seems to me that we make a lot of things important. But in scripture, Jesus mentioned one thing more than anything else.
At the beginning of His earthly ministry Jesus made a very direct statement about His purposes here on Earth.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim to the year of the Lords favor.”
We know of course that he was reading from Isaiah 61, regarding the Jubilee year and the the Day of Salvation. The message of mercy and grace being wrapped up in one for the blessing of the poor and the poor in spirit, those who are very important to Him.
Just how important? Well, over 2,000 times poverty is mentioned in the scriptures. That’s a lot of lip service for one issue. Yet, Jesus himself spoke on it more than any other subject. Call me crazy, but I tend to believe that’s because he thought it was important. They are important.
Does that sounds backwards? Maybe it’s because the verse more often quoted is Matthew 25:35 where Jesus explains that what you did do was all for Him. But what if you did nothing? What if the poor just isn’t your issue, your problem? Maybe you are the poor.
I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but if you’re reading this, you aren’t poor. You may have less than you’d like, or less than you feel is just, but the truth is, “…the poor lack access to information. They do not have book stores or libraries. Most can not read. Those who go to school often leave at an early age to help support their family. And many suffer from impaired vision because they lack simple nutrients in their diets or suffer a small infection that goes untreated. Being poor, it turns out, is much more complicated than lack of money.” (The Skeptic’s Guide to Global Poverty, Dale Hanson Bourke)
The 2015 poverty level for a family of four in the United States is just shy of $25,000 a year. By comparison, almost 6 of the (over) 7 BILLION people on planet Earth lives on less than $2 a day, many on less than $1. Try, just for a moment, to image how you might survive on less than $400 a year.
Mind boggling, isn’t it?
In light of the problem, it’s east to despair. It’s easy to feel hopeless. I mean, really, what can one person do? The truth is, you are one person and YOU can do A LOT!
This is a post about Hope. I wrote it to help you connect with the world around you. To empower you to see your world, good and bad, and to change it. To make it better.
Right now, I want you to stop. Take a second and realize that you have power.
Poverty is not about numbers. It is about inequality, and specifically about inequality in power relationships.
Jayakumar Christian in God of the Empty-Handed
You are not without hope. But…many are. Right now, today, you have the power to help them. All it takes is your decision to start. What better time than Easter, when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, is there to listen to His words and follow in His footsteps?
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.”
The good news for the poor is this, that the redeemed of Christ care for them, that Christ Himself loves them and has called us—His followers—to do the same.
You. YOU are the answer! You can choose to be the hands and feet of Christ to the poor and hurting in this world. And I encourage you TODAY, take that step, get plugged in, start!
There are a wealth of places you can help. But if you are interested in being a part of the hope-giving that Hope Bridges does in Northern Thailand to care for children and prevent sex-trafficking, then visit our home page at hopebridges.org.
However, if you don’t feel called to help there, it’s not an egg hunt to find a place to start serving. The world is waiting. Pray and ask God to lead you to the place you should serve.
“To love God and neighbor is not something abstract, but profoundly concrete: it means seeing in every person and face of the Lord to be served, to serve him concretely. And you are, dear brothers and sisters, in the face of Jesus.”
(Pope Francis, Address during Visit at the Homeless Shelter “Dona Di Maria,” 5/21/13)