When I see persons who are materially poor, I instantly feel a kinship to them, for they are physically what I was spiritually when my heart was closed to Christ. Perhpas some of them are in their condition because of sin, but so was I. Perhaps they are unkind when I try to help them; but I too have been spiteful to God when He has sought to help me. Perhaps they are thankless and even abuse the kindness I show them, but how many times have I been thankless and used what God has given me to serve selfish ends?
Perhaps a poverty-stricken person will be helped and changed as a result of some kindness I show him. If so, God be praised for His grace through me. But as the person walks away unchanged by my kindness, then I still rejoice over the opportunity to love as God loves. Perhaps the person will repent in time; but
for now, my heart is chastened and made wiser by the tangible depiction of what I myself have done to God on numerous occasions.
The Gospel reminds me daily of the spiritual poverty into which I was born and also of the staggering generosity of Christ toward me. Such reminders instill in me both a felt connection to the poor and
a desire to show them the same generosity that has been lavished on me. When ministering to the poor with these motivations, I not only preach the Gospel to them through word and deed, but I reenact the Gospel to my own benefit as well.
Monday, October 26, 2009
How the Gospel Applied Leads to Care for the Poor
This quote from Milton Vincent's, A Christian Gospel Primer, better articulates what I tried to say in my sermon from Amos last Lord's Day.