Date Published: 06 / 15 / 2022 |
“They asked us to remember the poor,
the very thing I was eager to do.”
The apostle Paul referring to the request of the Apostles Peter and James
In the transition between the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT) there were many things the Apostles needed to figure out. What parts of the OT are still binding? What traditions need to be maintained in the New Covenant? How did the works and teachings of Jesus change or fulfill things?
However, if there is one thing that carries forward from the OT to the NT it is generosity to the poor. There are literally hundreds of commands and exhortations and laws about this in the mouth of Moses, the Prophets, Jesus and the Apostles. Regular, consistent, tenderhearted mercy for the poor is the logical step after being shown radical, tenderhearted mercy from God. Graced people are generous to the poor because God was generous to us.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor,
so that you by his poverty might become rich."
2 Corinthians 8:9
This is why there are at least 100 commands like this in the Bible.
“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor,
in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you,
you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother.”
And these from Jesus:
“Give to everyone who begs from you.”
“When you give to the needy,
sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do”
*Notice the word “WHEN.”
Jesus expects that his followers will do what he did for the poor.
The prophet Isaiah tells us that care for the poor is part of the very essence of our understanding of God.
"For you have been a stronghold to the poor,
a stronghold to the needy in his distress."
This is why we do things like cereal drives at All Souls. We want care for the poor to be on the forefront of the agenda at All Souls because this is the normal way to be a Christian. Care for the poor is part of our community liturgy. We want to be a church dominated by pervasive grace and consistent benevolence, like Jesus intended.
"Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed,
for he shares his bread with the poor."
So if you haven’t already, pick up a few boxes of cereal and bring them to church. Few things are said to delight the heart of God like consistent benevolence. Few things illustrate the gospel like deeds of compassion.
Grace and peace,