Friday, January 19, 2007

Giving to the Poor...

I'm reading a book by Tim Keller called Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road. This quote is humbling, but good!
Of course, many true Christians do not evidence the social concern the Bible says is a mark of real faith. How do we explain that? Though it may not be in evidence, a heart for the poor sleeps in all Christians until someone preaches grace in connection with the ministry of mercy. This "pushes the button" deep in our soul, and we begin to wake up. Let me give you an example of the kind of preaching that "pushes the button."
Now dear Christians, some of you pray night and day to be branches of the true Vine; you pray to be made all over in the image of Christ. If so, you must be like him in giving..."though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor"...

Objection 1. "My money is my own."
Answer: Christ might have said, "my blood is my own, my life is my own"...then where should we have been?

Objection 2. "The poor are undeserving."
Answer: Christ might have said, "They are wicked rebels...shall I lay down my life for these? I will give to the good angels." But no, he left the ninety-nine, and came after the lost. He gave his blood for the undeserving.

Objection 3. "The poor may abuse it."
Answer: Christ might have sad the same; yea, with far greater truth. Christ knew that thousands would trample his blood under their feet; that most would despise it; that many would make it an excuse for sinning more; yet he gave his own blood.

Oh, my dear Christians! If you would be like Christ, give much, give often, give freely, to the vile and poor, the thankless and the undeserving. Christ is glorious and happy and so will you be. It is not your money I want, but your happiness. Remember his own word, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Can you feel the Spirit of God "pushing your button" under such preaching?

[Keller, Tim Ministries of Mercy: The call of the Jericho Road Copyright 1997 P & R Publishing; Phillipsburg, NJ Pp. 65]

(I edited the quote for clarity in reading)

1 comment:

Geoff said...

As far as any one thinking their money is their own, Jesus said, "So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple."

Jeremiah 22:16 says
He judged the cause of the poor and needy;
then it was well.
Is not this to know me?
declares the LORD.

James 1:27 says
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

One of my favorite passages on giving is in Luke where the people come to John the Baptist and he's telling them to repent. They ask what that means to them and he starts by saying that any one who has two tunics is to share with him who has none and he who has food is to do likewise. There is absolutely nothing in this passage which points this message to a certain group of people other than to those who wish to do what is right before God. Basically, as long as there are poor around us and we have not tried to help them, we are not doing what we should be doing. The fact that there are poor people in America speaks against all the believers. We have PLENTY to help them all but we keep it to ourselves because a 50 inch TV screen and a $300,000 house is more important than having enough and sharing food and clothing with those who do not.