Kia Ora Cambridge Baptist and friends,
I am sure you are all hanging out for what the Prime Minister will say on Thursday about what level 2 will look like if we head into it next week. Will we be allowed inter regional travel? Will the cafes, restaurants and malls be able to re-open. Will people be able to gather in large groups? Can we do church? However, whatever happens one thing is clear - there will be a lot of people in our midst who will be struggling financially, as result of having lost their job, living on reduced wages, or having a struggling business. Our hearts go out to them, but sympathy alone doesn’t pay the bills. So the question is how should we respond to people’s financial needs?
Its interesting, in the Psalm I have been meditating on this morning Psalm 41, David begins by saying blessed (or happy) is the one who considers the poor or sustains the poor. Why? Because the Psalmist says in the day of trouble the Lord will deliver him and protect him and keep him alive. In verse 3 it says the Lord will sustain him on his sickbed and will restore him to full health. On the face of it this Psalm suggests if we look after the poor then God will come to our rescue if we get in a tight spot or heal us if we get sick. David certainly had that expectation, because he asks in this Psalm to be healed on the basis he has always looked after the poor. However, we need to be careful not to take what David is saying here and apply it wholesale to our lives. This psalm is written in the context of God’s covenantal love for Israel and his promise to them that if they looked after the poor and oppressed, he would bless them as a people. So relying on God’s promises to Israel, David is displaying covenantal faith in asking to be healed for the way he has treated the poor. However, we live under the new covenant that was made and sealed by the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross. That means while David was looking forward to what God would do, we look to the cross and thank Christ for what he has done. So how does that impact on the way we see the poor? It means we don’t help the poor on the basis we will in turn get help from God when we need it, but rather by helping the poor and needy we display our gratitude for what Christ has done for us on the Cross. We display our true love for Christ not only by loving Him, but by loving those made in his image – and on the basis of the parable of the Good Samaritan that is helping anyone God brings into our life that we have the capacity to help.
So if we boil it all down, one of the measures of how much you love God, and understand just how spiritually needy you were when Christ died for you, is reflected in how your reach out to help those in need around you. When we needed him most, Christ died for us and rescued us from eternal torment so we could have eternal enjoyment in God’s presence.
The way you show love to others now will reveal how much that means to you.
Lord give us a heart for the poor. Remind us a fresh what you did for us when we were spiritually destitute so we will reach out to others in love. Stir us up to help the needy in our midst so those looking in will say, “see how they love one another”.
In Jesus name.