If you haven’t noticed I have a deep regard for the broken, hurt, poor, and broken of our world and my heart aches that they may be renewed in the Joy of Christ. I wish the modern church was moved with a deeper conviction (And I know that many local churches are); but unfortunately, our ungodly government usually does a better job caring for the poor and needy than the local church does. In the New Testament church, it would seem that nearly all the money given to the church was to go towards the poor, afflicted, needy, homeless, orphans, and widows and some redirected to the planting of new congregations by Apostles. Seems like the modern-day church is quite off, usually spending a large part of their budget on mortgages and salaries. Sometimes I feel like our modern church models enable us to make excuses to not give properly according to scripture, they aren’t modeling very well. But don’t let that be a crutch. Give with relentless compassion according to what you have been blessed with. I’m thankful for many of you that have continue to give in this way and for the churches that continue to be “ALL IN” by discipleship and supporting of the first church’s endeavors.
But I am poor and needy; may Adonai think of me. You are my helper and rescuer; my God, don’t delay! Psalm 40:18 CJB
You should read the chapter to get the context, but the author goes from singing praises one moment to the depths of despair the next moment. This is common is wisdom and apocalyptic literature. Sometimes this is the author stating his condition but then moving forward in faith and trust speaking life into and over the situation in the name of the Lord. There is alot of power in the Name. The popular song “SPEAK JESUS” echoes much of the same intentions.
The Hebrew phrase above for poor and needy is va-ani ani. (Notice the repetition, in Hebrew reiteration means listen or take special note of!) The first word is usually translated something like “I am” & the second word is “poor”, but in English we miss the context, without getting way into the Hebrew, it is “well or correctly” translated; however, it’s worth understanding that there’s a better word in modern English. It takes on the definition more of being oppressed or afflicted than economically strapped, some translations say poor and afflicted which give you this idea, but it typically carries a tone of chance rather than something an opponent has dealt. Sometimes it was thought that the “gods” brought the calamities of the world. Yahweh would say that was one thing that made him different than “their gods.” He was “good” or TOV in Hebrew. (This is one major problem I have with Calvinism; God is not the author of Evil and his character is only capable of goodness.)
Have you ever been so constrained that your financial climate was just a small portion of the detriment that you were in? In other words, this scripture using the word poor is not so much about the money, that’s may or may not be a part of it, (and particularly in our American mindset we want to think money would fix everything); but rather, it is a description of the pit of despair and destruction. Most of us in America have never truly experienced that feeling. Sometimes the condition has nothing to do with money. Some believe that if you have never been there, you have never truly experienced the redemption of the Love of Jesus.
As I write this my heart is burdened by the “affliction” of a family in my covenant community called Tres Dias. Their teenage son was in a car accident and died yesterday morning. Our Oldest Son Ty is almost the same age, and they had a lot in common, so this has hit home in many ways. This family may be financially well off, and some might even say very well off; but today, and likely for very many days to come, they are not well off. My heart is broken for them.
Even though this family is strong with the Lord (as was their son) and knows the Lord is Gracious and compassionate and longs for restoration and joy, they are still afflicted.
In thinking through their situation yesterday it occurred to me that people understand that this family can look forward eschatologically to the day they are reunited with their son, but they still hurt now and need more than ever the hands and feet of Jesus to permeate their life. We “get that” as Christians in this family’s situation but sometimes we forget this with the rest of the broken world.
The scriptures speak more to the “now” in terms of deliverance and need than they do the eschatological or future heaven which is the way most people want to make everything out to be.
The primary message of HOPE in the Bible is for consolation of Jesus through the church (body of believers) here and now –not in Heaven.
In other words, through the body of Christ there can be deliverance for the hurting & the broken right here through the hands and feet of Christ. Perhaps not full healing of their hurt and deliverance from their affliction; but perhaps enough to truly experience the joy of Jesus Here and now as a foreshadow of what is to come. The intention of the Scripture is that we might image Christ himself and that redemption will come partly on this earth here and now in terms of bringing resolution and light into the pains of the destitute.
How will you be part of their exodus out of the darkness if all you want is a way out for you and them (they will be renewed in heaven)? Are we not called to restore and renew (here and now)? What percentage of your time treasure and talents have been given to what Christ said, was one of the most important aspects of the kingdom? We talk all the time about being the hands and feet of Christ, but are you? Would He look at you in this area and say well done thy good and faithful servant? The church of Acts sold everything to give to those that were destitute. How are we doing today as the communal body of believers, the church?
Start today with a small step. You don’t have to know this family, you just have to know Jesus… or even just be a “good” person, which likely won’t get you into heaven, but it could bring you closer to Jesus (I am hopeful!); and I like those people too, sometimes more than the “Christian’s” I know!
Please join me in a prayer for my friends the Shermans who lost their son yesterday and my other friends the Vawters who are experiencing great affliction. If you want to give financially please contact me here.