When we were kids, my parents would take us to church. And when it came time for the deacons to pass the offering plate down our pew, my mom would open her purse and put a quarter in our hands. It was for us to drop it in the plate.
It was a simple lesson, and an easy one to perform. It didn’t cost my brothers and I a thing.
But, like I said, we were kids.
Last weekend, I listened to a podcast by Timothy Keller, “Doing Justice and Mercy“. It was like having a mirror held up to my face. I saw that I was still that kid dropping a quarter in the offering plate at church.
I had to grow up. I had to admit that my practice of Christianity was not the Christianity of the Bible. Giving to the poor was not optional.
Giving to the poor (as the Bible teaches) is generally not practiced today in Evangelicalism. It is a whole different concept.
Giving to the poor is not pledging $200 to your church’s building project (so that the lost can be reached).
Giving to the poor is not giving $150 to that youth wanting to go to Mexico for two weeks with his youth group to build a school for the poor.
Giving to the poor is not giving $2000 at the end of the year to the pastor’s Christmas bonus.
Giving to the poor is taking money and resources out of your own pocket and putting it directly in the hands of those who need it.
From his birth to his death, Jesus identified with the poor. Jesus is the poor. If we say that we love him, how can we ignore him…ever?
I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’