“This past winter, we had unusually cold weather…. Some nights, temperatures plummeted below zero. Dashing from a warm car through the cold into a warm house, I thought of the dozens of people …near our University, who had no warm place to sleep. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it would be to try to survive overnight in the cold. The physical cold might be unbearable, but for me, the more painful reality would be that no one loved me enough to invite me inside on such a cold night. I grew up in a Christian environment, but as a child and teenager, I heard very little about God’s heart for those in need. I’m not sure how we missed it, because the Bible is full of passages speaking about God’s justice, compassion, and faithful love for those who have nothing, who are marginalized or oppressed. God is pleased when His church acts like Him, showing compassion for those in need, and God can use this generosity to lead those who don’t know Him to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Social justice is not the gospel, but it is a natural consequence of the gospel taking root in our hearts. Jesus’ half-brother James says that true faith produces godly action (James 1:22). He further explains that true devotion to God results in taking action to care for those who could never repay us: “orphans and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27, ESV). …In Isaiah 58, the children of Israel are rebuked because of their lack of response to the oppressed, the hungry, and the homeless. The children of Israel were repeatedly commanded to care for those who were displaced or in need, because the Israelites themselves were once immigrants in need. Now they were practicing outward religious activities such as fasting, but they were not demonstrating any evidence of a heart like God’s heart.” Matt McAlack
“our Lord Jesus Christ … though He was rich,
yet for your sake …became poor”
2 Corinthians 8:9
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- If you were sitting on the sidewalk in the bitter cold, ignored by people walking past, would you feel loved by God?
- Doesn’t practicing “social justice” create a context which gives meaning and power to the gospel when it’s preached? If a “gospel” fails the “justice test”, can it really be “good news?”
- Are you developing a “heart like God’s heart” – not only in church, but on the street?
Abba, help us embrace the poverty that will enable us to enrich others.
For More: The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)