“Never again will they hunger, never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to the springs of loving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
As Christians, we have great hope in the promised future, a future of peace and not of trouble or lack. That future hope contrasts so drastically with the present of so many of our fellow humans, people we are called to love as ourselves, people we should try to reach with the gospel and the Name of Christ.
God has been teaching me a lot lately about the responsibility we have for the poor. I’ve been learning facts like well over 3 billion people in the world live on less than $2 a day. The average American earns $41,560 or $114 per day. And that the 12% of the world’s population who live in North America and Western Europe consume 60 percent of the world’s resources.
The other day my heart was broken when I read a comparison Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, shared. Think about hearing the news of a major airliner crashing with 180 souls on board. That’s tragic and would garner quite a bit of news coverage. But imagine, he wrote, if 100 airliners crashed today, tomorrow, the next day, and the next. On and on. That’s roughly equivalent to the number of African children who die each day from mostly preventable causes.
Because they don’t have access to clean water or food or medicine.
When we have so much, we drink so freely and eat til we’re stuffed and can easily access healthcare.
In the midst of 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Paul quotes a verse from the Psalms that had never really sunk in with me. “He (God) has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”
He scattered abroad his gifts to the poor??!!?? As in, all of the things I’ve been given aren’t necessarily just for me and mine.
In Matthew 25, Jesus himself tells of the coming day when we will be separated as sheep or goats. Some will hear his welcome; others will hear a terrible fate. “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not invite me in. I needed clothes and you did not clothe me. I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”
Jesus takes this treatment of others very seriously.
Stearns translates it to our own time with his paraphrase: “For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved.”
Christians aren’t saved by works, please don’t hear me saying otherwise, but after our salvation we are called to put his love into action by serving and caring for others.
Lord, show me what you would have me to do to be obedient in this area.