To the Editor,
This is in response to the recent ‘Notes from Pastor....’ column.
I would like to share my views on your recent article in the WDL regarding the poor in our community. There were “no” nonprofit organizations in Jesus’ time to ask who the poor were in His community. Yes, (answering your question), they (nonprofit organizations of that sort) are to be working with the poor every day. In fact, just as everyone should who has breath in their body. That is found throughout the New Testament, with a good deal more emphasis than many subjects that many of us prefer to focus on.
I do believe there is something wrong with a parent being able to feed their children cheaper by driving through the fast food restaurant and ordering the $1 burger. Not because they are eating at a fast food restaurant, but because it causes obesity in children who are not getting a balanced meal. Yes, I know, that same parent may have a cigarette in their mouth, a can of beer (or 20-ounce Dr. Pepper) waiting for them at home where they will turn on their cable TV to watch their favorite choice in entertainment, while their children go to field trips on “scholarships.” Jesus did not choose the “acceptable” people to show his love. The woman at the well was no saint, and she was a Samaritan. I believe Jesus is asking us to go beyond our comfort zone by giving to those who are not like us. I have never read where Jesus denied the unacceptable because they were not moral, or do not practice good budget practices (choosing selective spending instead), or that it is their own fault that they are in a “poor condition”, or that they are lazy, or are a lady with tattoos at the concession stand with a kid holding a $20 dollar bill and spending all of it, or numerous other excuses we feel justified to use. Yes, when Jesus offered the woman at the well living water, she turned from her ways. We give not seeing the impact of our giving. Maybe we don’t need to redefine “poor” for if we do, we will need to change all the scriptures, i.e., Proverbs 22:9, Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the “tangibly” poor.
Your friend who lives on $500 a month, who is very content, loves Jesus more than most and does not let being poor keep him from being one of the most influential people you have ever met is not typical of most “poor.” He is like the poor widow in Luke 21, which states that Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said. “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on. If we were all that kind of poor, we could just all throw down our armor (how nice would that be) and “wait” for the call from the portals of glory to come home cause it’s “suppertime.”
Since they are not all like your friend, maybe we just have to follow 2 Cor. 9:7. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
We tend to embrace “practice moderation in all things.” Unfortunately, on giving to the poor, Jesus called for immoderate giving. Moderation in giving did not come from the Bible.
Had a great lunch with my son yesterday at his office. One of his co-workers came to join us. A young African American man (probably the same age as my son who has 2 children in college). My son was telling me how this young man is the “giver” in the office. As a matter of fact, he is sort of the resident “joke” with some in the office. If someone walked in off the street and said they were hungry, he bought them lunch. More than once. If they needed money, he gave them money. Even when they came in several days in a row. They, OK my son, must be the resident joker for sure, tried to put the UPS driver up to asking this young man for $20 for a need, jokingly, knowing full well he would pull out a $20 and give it to him. (The UPS driver wouldn’t do it). The stories of his “giving” were numerous indeed, and not just at work. Even with all the ridicule that is heaped on him, he continues giving. He also works two jobs. Now, I say that to say this, we are all called to “give.” Some get it and some don’t. I know when I left that office, I knew that I had been in the presence of a cheerful giver.
I am only offering my opinion. Even Jesus himself allowed there to be differences of opinions. He was speaking to his disciples about food, i.e., meat, and the “vegetarians” who don’t eat meat. The disciples were scorning them. He told the disciples that it was not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out. He then tells them (the disciples) to leave the others (the vegetarians) alone, because they felt in their heart they were right.