This week our church visited the homeless shelter in our area for the purpose of providing an evening meal; something we do on a regular basis. I always come away from these visits with more questions than answers, some having been with me a long time. I have never in my life had to wonder where my next meal was coming from or if I would have a safe, dry or warm place to go to if the weather got bad. People don’t move to avoid standing or sitting next to me. I have always had sufficient clothing for my needs. What I am trying to say is, it is so hard for me to understand how these people got to this place in their lives and what keeps them there. Here I believe is where you have to ask yourself, why? The why is not the usual “why” but a realization of “why does it matter?” Sometimes we let the “why” get in the way of that which we are called to do. Is John 12: 8 the answer for us? I don’t think so….and sometimes when we pull just part of a verse or verses to make a point that supports our reasoning, we miss the depth of the scriptures as written. Jesus many times referred back to OT scripture in his ministry. Here are two that are used in some of his teachable moments. Both are from Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 24: 19-22
19 “When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do. 20 When you beat the olives from your olive trees, don’t go over the boughs twice. Leave the remaining olives for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 21 When you gather the grapes in your vineyard, don’t glean the vines after they are picked. Leave the remaining grapes for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 22 Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt. That is why I am giving you this command.
Deuteronomy 15: 10-1
10 Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. 11 There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need.
It is suggested that John 12: 7-8 is one of the most often pulled scriptures and Jesus did not need to elaborate on it here at this time, because of past teaching to the disciples they knew the rest “of the story so to speak.” You see because the poor will always be among us does not make it an acceptable condition. It is here we often miss the “Command” found in our two scriptures today. Caring for the poor among us is a call that has been and will be ongoing and forever. Nowhere do we find the need to ponder “why” or ask ourselves if “they” deserve such, for God places no conditions on caring for his people. While it might not be a popular line of thought our first thought should be . How might I help you, what do you need? In Luke 10: 27-37 the lawyer tried to get Jesus with the question “who is my neighbor?” Jesus uses a Samaritan to teach him his duty and answers him….. “Go, and do like him.” Note, It is the duty of every one of us, to give aid according to our ability.
Most of us here in the pew do not have the resources to meet all the needs of those less fortunate than us but when we come together as a community of faith, all things are possible. With our gifts, tithes, prayers and presence we can do much good.
Thank you for stopping by the Pew…..Do good whenever and wherever you can…..
Life is Good