Everything about North American culture says more is better and money is power. But everything about Jesus’ ministry suggests the opposite.
Jesus went with great intentionality to the poor, who suffer some of the worst that our broken world has to offer. He even said in Luke 6:20, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” (NASB).
How can it be that the marginalized, overlooked and excluded are blessed?
Poverty seems to curse many of the things needed for successful living in North America — education, communication skills, life skills, income, relationships, health, living conditions, hope and more.
Our attitude toward the poor will provide evidence of our commitment to Christ, who went far out of his way to reach those most victimized by this broken world.
Most of us do everything we can to improve these experiences for ourselves without giving much thought to how our success affects others. But this is exactly where the gospel – God’s good news about the human condition through the incarnate Christ – intersects the hard realities of life. Consider the following.
- The gospel does not measure how much we have; it measures what we do with what we have.
- The kingdom is not concerned with amassing power and resources; it leverages our eternal inheritance for the benefit of those overlooked by others.
- The church is God’s method of bringing reconciliation to His creation; it’s not a bubble in which self-indulgent people can escape reality.
- The King — who was homeless — came not to be served, but to serve by giving His life.
As the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina continues to encourage affiliated churches to impact lostness through disciple-making, our attitude toward the poor will provide evidence of our commitment to Christ, who went far out of His way to reach those most victimized by this broken world.
We will have to do the same if we want to reach the lost in North Carolina because large numbers of people live under the crushing weight of poverty.
For example, in Charlotte, five of the 12 pockets of lostness within the city limits have a majority population earning below a livable wage. Yet our pattern and motivation in confronting this crisis can be found in Christ Himself.
In 2 Corinthians 8:9, the apostle Paul writes, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (NASB).
The only question is whether we will live out the gospel of Jesus that prioritizes the poor and blesses them for their good and His glory.