1 John 3:17-18 etc. Christ, the poor, and you/me/us.

1 John 3:17-18 ESV
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
Proverbs 14:31 ESV
“Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.”
Deuteronomy 15:10-11 ESV
“10 You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. 11 Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’”
Isaiah 58:10 ESV
“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”
Acts 20:35 ESV
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

There’s no mistaking where Christ stands. The poor are with us, “for there will never cease to be poor in the land.”  Why?  It’s our challenge.  What do we do with the poor?  With the marginalized? With the sick? Elderly? Incarcerated? With everyone who ain’t got it? What do we do?

I have an idea – let’s let the government take care of it! We pay taxes, we are busy, let someone else deal with it.

Bad idea – we see the results of that.  While we’ve reduced the count of those living in abject poverty throughout the world by nearly 50% in the last 30 years, we haven’t done squat here in the US. Ever wonder why? What’s it going to take? Most of the poverty reduction has been through NGO’s and those NGO’s are primarily Christian organizations.  Lot’s of money flows that way.

What about the US?  It takes a whole lot to move people, to break the cycle. It takes a whole lot of money, a whole lot of time, a whole lot of change, a whole lot of putting stereotypes behind, a whole lot of work.

So, where does my help come from the poor are asking?  It comes from you/me/us – the haves.

Are you ready to move to a poor neighborhood, or sponsor the poor in yours? Are you ready to volunteer at a failing school? Are you ready to buy someone’s groceries? Are you ready to help break a cycle where a woman is raising her grandchildren just like her mother did and her mother before that because the mother won’t? Are you ready to tell someone that knocking someone up means you’re responsible for raising that child to adulthood, and then stand beside them, through thick and thin for 20+ years? Are you ready to get your hands dirty and actually do something beside lock your car, move to the ‘burbs, complain about crime, volunteer a couple times a year?  Are you ready to spend hours a week investing in those who don’t have what you do?

Take a page from God — no wonder the atheists want Him out of it — care for the poor.

Let us not love in word, but in deed. God’s words for how it should be done.

Care, narrow the gap, follow His plan, not ours.

Love unconditionally, love unceasingly, love radically; love like He loves us.

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