Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Kingdom Of God

In the book of James, Jesus says, "Listen, my dear brothers: Has God not chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised to those who love Him?" 

There are over 300 verses in the Bible about taking care of the poor.

There are over 50 verses about taking care of the fatherless.

Clearly God has aligned Himself with the downtrodden, the outcast, the vulnerable, and the marginal. He identifies Himself with the broken, the lonely, and the forgotten, so much so that His son came to this Earth as one of them. And yet, as His followers, we, so often, pretend not to see them or we dismiss them as someone else's problem or someone else's ministry. "That's not my gift," we might say to excuse ourselves, but if Jesus so identified Himself with the poor, how can we, as His followers, not do the same?

There are millions of kids who are in the foster care and orphanage systems.

There are millions who are trapped in sex trafficking.

There are millions trapped into forced labor.

26% of those trapped in sex trafficking and forced labor are under the age of 18.

In Eastern Europe and Slavic countries, 50% of the kids who age out of the orphanage system never make it to the age of 20.

Over a million kids are homeless in the United States alone. This figure goes up to over 100 million world wide.

How can we, as followers of Christ, allow this to happen? After all, part of what Jesus said He came here to do was "to proclaim release to the captives" and "to let the oppressed to go free." Are we working that these words are truth to the millions who are poor, who are oppressed, who are fatherless?

Are we "defending the cause of the fatherless and the widow" and, in this time when immigration is forefront of American debate, loving "the alien, giving him food and clothing"?

Do we, through our indifference, not strive for their justice? 

We are all made in the image of God, but do we truly see others that way?

Job 29:11-12 says, "Whoever heard me spoke well of me, and those who saw me commended me, because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist them."

Will the same be said of us?

Do we offer help or excuses?

Do we not "weep for those in trouble?" Do our souls "grieve for the poor?" (Job 30:25).

Jesus was filled with compassion. Compassion is "the emotion that one feels in response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help."

Am I the good Samaritan or am I those who would move to the other side of the road and pretends not to see the suffering of someone else in desperate need?

The Lord is continually spoken of in scripture as a "refuge" for the poor and oppressed. Are we spoken of likewise? How can we not be if we are being made to be like our Lord and Savior? 

Do we speak up for those who do not have a voice in this world?

Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Missions, said, "Justice is doing for others what we would want done for us."

Isiah 1:17 tells us, "Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the cause of the widow."

I think, too often, we read the scriptures with a highlighter, only marking the passages we like and quickly skipping over the parts that make us uncomfortable or challenges us. Often we are afraid of who God is going to call us to love because we know that He loves the most unlovable and has called us to do likewise. 

Do we pour ourselves out in loving the unlovable? 

Do we see them as precious? 

Our heavenly Father does. 

Jesus told us, "When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors lest they also invite you back; and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just." (Luke 14:12-14).

Jesus loved the poor and the broken. 

Do we? 

Or do we close our eyes and our hearts to their plight?

If Christians were obedient in taking up the cause that God has called us to do, there would be no more poverty, or orphans, or sex trafficking in this world. The world would know us by our love, which is how Jesus said they would know His followers. 

So how will we answer to Him when He asks what we have done for Him, done for the least of these? 

Here are just a few links to ways you can get involved:

International Justice Missions

Compassion International

Lifesong For Orphans

Habitat For Humanity

Reece's Rainbow

Sole Hope

Cross International

1 comment:

  1. This post reminded me of a recent post on another blog I follow. Perhaps you can share this: