When Jesus first made this statement, the poor must have laughed. What blessing could possible come from poverty? In first century Judea, poverty was common. Jesus also mentioned hungry people, and those who mourn. Loss of life easily happened from manual labour accidents, disease and war. Families were left to face extreme hardships.
Poverty is still with us, even here in Canada. Stats Canada says there are about 3.2 million people living with low incomes, including 634,000 children. That’s roughly 10% of all Canadians. I’m sure poverty was much higher in Jesus’ day.
The Lord didn’t say the answer to poverty was simply to feed people, although He did do plenty of that. In Luke 6:20-21, He said the poor would be blessed because they could have the kingdom of heaven. Likewise the hungry would be satisfied, but not just with food. Sometimes people with great possessions can feel poor in spirit, hungry for deeper things to make life worthwhile, and certainly nobody is exempt from “weeping” over inevitable losses. There is more than one way to be poor.
The poor are blessed when they turn to Jesus and find forgiveness, acceptance, love, depth of spirit, and new lives to live. They gain the ability to laugh again in a hard world; to be satisfied deep inside instead of trying to buy it with money; and feel the solid ground on which to build a better life.
The poor and hungry need our help. But they need the real blessings that can only come from facing poverty of the soul. This is our work as His people.
– Tim Johnson
“Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Gal.4:7)
I’ve read that the baby boom generation is inheriting more wealth than anyone in the history of our country. This is because their parents lived during the most prosperous time of our history. People are inheriting houses, cottages, businesses and savings. Usually received with joy, soon the responsibility of sudden gain throws a different light on things. Continue reading
Tabitha is not remembered because she was raised from the dead(Acts 9). She is celebrated in this statement, “…this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity, which she continually did” (v36). By it she helped convert many in Joppa.
A country may have great buildings and famous attractions, but it’s not worth living in if it lacks kindness. Last year it was reported that there is an epidemic of meanness in our society. Many people seem to go out of their way to hurt and humiliate others. It was the same in ancient Israel, and it disgusted God. Through Micah He said they must learn to “do justice and to love kindness” (Mic.6:8).
Think back and remember the times in your life when people were kind to you when your behavior demonstrated you were hardly worth it. That’s what God did for us through Jesus Christ. In Titus 3:3 we’re reminded that we were once busy “spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.” Then something happened that changed everything. “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared…” (v4). Kindness is what motivated God to send us a Saviour. And now we are to love kindness. “Put on a heart of compassion and kindness” (Col.3:12). Put away meanness, learn to practice kindness, and live the way Jesus did when He was in this mean old world. He was kind to people – even on the cross. It saved the world. How will you treat people this week?
– Tim Johnson
One morning in September 2008 Thomas Vander Woude, a retired airline pilot who now kept a farm in Northern Virginia, was working his 26 acres with his 20 year old handicapped son Joseph by his side. When they had separated to do other chores, Joseph walked on a damaged septic tank cover and broke through, falling into the almost full 8 foot deep tank. Seeing the accident from a distance, Vander Woude rushed over to assist his youngest son. Unable to pull him from the tank, he lowered himself into the sewage and treaded beside him to help keep Josephs’ head above the waste, but he was still sinking. Vander Woude then made the decision to dive under the sewage and raise his Down syndrome afflicted son up on his shoulders to free him from drowning. When rescuers finally arrived they pulled Joseph out, injured but alive. His father Thomas though was dead, suffocated under the waste. Continue reading