“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth,
whatever you did for one of the least
of these brothers and sisters of mine,
you did for me”
Marcus Borg wrote that
“The principal suffering of the poor
is shame and disgrace”
For so many of them everything about their lives speaks of failure and inadequacy. And whilst handouts may alleviate an immediate need it may make them feel even worse about themselves if done dismissively – to get rid of them! It doesn’t do us any good either!
“If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,
but have not love, I gain nothing”
(1 Corinthians 13:3)
On the other hand help, whether short-term or long-term, offered in the right spirit can carry with it the message that they are valuable. Then both the body and the spirit are blessed.
Jesus reminded us that even those who occupy the very lowest rungs on the social ladder are precious in His sight – so precious that He identified Himself with them completely.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me”
Not all of the poor are beggars. There are many who are desperately trying to make ends meet, and have little or no room in their lives for anything except worry and fear. If we become aware of them then we could make a difference in their lives – directly or anonymously.
Jesus showed us that He was not just a ‘man for others.’ As Greg Boyle makes clear He was primarily a ‘man with others.’ He did not merely act as their champion, He became one of them – He became the outcast, the homeless, the prisoner and the crucified one. In fact in real terms He became one with me – for without Him I too was an outcast from God, homeless from heaven, a prisoner to sin and with no hope in my life.
“Love one another as I have loved you”
Lord Jesus, lead me into the love that sees, that cares and that acts –as You have done for me. Amen.