Luke 4:18, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
James 1:27, Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Just a casual study of both the Old and New Testament will bear witness to the fact that God, while he loves all people, seems to have a special place in his heart for the poor, the needy, orphans, widows, and other outcasts of society. Our Lord’s anointing and his ministry, while definitely not neglecting anyone, seemed to major on the poor, the needy, and what we would often refer to as outcasts. In other words, Jesus was empowered for a purpose, and so are we!
For most of us, there is nothing as grotesque as many of the body builders who live their entire lives to build up their bodies primarily for show! A while back I read the words below and pondered the message behind the words:
“Body builders dedicate their whole lives to building huge muscles, but their muscles are just for show. They don’t use them for anything worthwhile; they just strut around and show them off. And when we go to church, read our Bibles, have our quiet times, and go to Christian conferences, we too can build some impressive spiritual muscles, but unless we use those spiritual muscles to change our lives, build the church, love our neighbors, and care for the sick and the poor, we, too, are just posers.”
Let’s go back and read those words one more time. Let them sink deep down into your soul! Are we simply spiritual posers? We sit in our church services three times a week. We attend Pastors’ Conferences. We attend Youth Conferences. Don’t forget our Revival Services, Summer and Winter Youth Camp, Couples’ and Family Retreats, and of course, there’s our Soul-winning and Missions Conferences. Many of us attended Christian schools and Bible Colleges. That’s a lot of spiritual body building. And for what? What are we doing with all of this “spiritual muscle”?
There are a lot of poor, needy, helpless, outcasts just waiting for someone who does have the strength and resources to pull them out of their place of pain and despair. Concerning Christ’s compassion, especially for the needy, someone else has written:
No hands but yours,
No feet but yours,
Your are the eyes through which
Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out;
Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
And yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.
Nearly every day here in Southeast Asia we are confronted with poverty and pain. We in the West have been blessed beyond all measure. God has strengthened us. He has equipped us “for such a time as this.” What are we going to do about it?
Deuteronomy 15:11, For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.
Proverbs 19:17, He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.