God is near the poor

Last night, I had the privilege of hosting a couple of volunteers from Ottawa Innercity Ministries at a local place I volunteer at. What a blessing it was!

I love what Jesus taught us about treating the poor. We are not to judge, but to extend grace (Matt. 7:1-3). Here are a few other facets about poverty that the Bible teaches us about concerning this topic:

  • We are to seek justice and love mercy (Micah 6:8)
  • “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).
  • We are to remember the poor (Gal. 2:10)
  • Do not be distracted by the riches of this world—”the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life”—since this doesn’t come from our Heavenly Father (1 Jn. 2:16)
  • Jesus beckons us to accept Him as Saviour so that we do not gain the world but forfeit our soul (Matt. 16:24-27)
  • The Church is to be a house of prayer, not a “den of robbers” (Jer. 7:11; Isa. 56:7; Matt. 21:13; Mk. 11:17)

I am reminded of how Jesus, in His compassion, fed 5,000 people. If we humbly bring to Him our loaves and fishes, He will multiply it. This isn’t the social gospel of the late nineteenth century. It is the real Gospel. I would venture to say that the Gospel has never really been preached unless it is accompanied by acts of kindness and helping to meet the physical needs of people.

You see all of us are broken, in some way or another. Relationally, financially, emotionally. But the good news is that Jesus is close by. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Ps. 34:18). We need each other. Community is important. Jesus commanded the disciple Peter to feed His sheep (Jn. 21:17). We who were once far off have been brought near to Christ (Eph. 2:13).

Jesus fends off our loneliness and all ugliness. “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities…” (Isa. 53:5). The Lord is gentle toward us. Jesus took on the punishment that rightfully should have been endured by us: “A bruised reed He will not break, and a smouldering wick He will not snuff out…” (Isa. 42:3). Though there is nothing we could do to repay Christ, He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deut. 31:6; Heb. 13:5).

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