Remember the Poor
“You all ever seen those orange buckets at Home Depot? We grabbed several of those and scattered them under the bridge to be used as seats. We put two of them out in front of our drummer—one to be the snare and the other to act as bass, and with a toy, battery-operated piano, we started the worship service under the bridge in South Dallas. When my daughters asked about the smell, I pointed to one area, slightly hidden, that was used to pee and the across the way to another area that was used for the other.”
Curtis was sharing with my Southern Bible Old Testament class how his ministry to the poor, hurting, and homeless got started a few years ago because our students can’t just learn about the Gospel. They’ve got to demonstrate that it’s not just rhetoric they shout about in class or at church, but it’s reality that they live as they meet the need of the poor.
When I was a kid, evangelicals were still debating about whether or not the true biblical Gospel fleshed itself out in concrete acts of caring for the poor and issues of social justice. I can’t believe the debate still continues but one thing Paul was clear about. It’s heresy to add circumcision, religious initiation rites and rules to the Gospel, but if one genuinely receives the amazing gracious gift of new life by faith in Christ, they must not forget the poor.
“Now from those who seemed to be important (the Jerusalem Apostles Peter, James, and John)—what they are makes no difference to me because God does not judge by external appearances—those men who did have a respected reputation did not add anything to my message. Just the opposite. They saw that I had been entrusted with the Gospel for the uncircumcised in the same way that Peter was entrusted with the Gospel for the circumcised. God was working through Peter as the apostle of the circumcision and through me as the apostle of the Gentile. And recognizing the grace given to me, James and Cephas, and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcision. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor. Of course, this was something we were more than eager to do.” Galatians 2:6-10
My evangelical upbringing didn’t emphasize enough the need to care for the poor, but in 1992 when I was pastoring Midlothian Bible Church, the Ministerial Alliance listened to a Methodist pastor and a group of problem-solving middle schoolers and we founded Manna House to meet the needs of transients passing through. Today it has expanded exponentially and supplies food, utilities, medical care, medications, and a host of other needs to give a helping hand to those in need. And one of the men who went with us on the Truth Encounter Holy Land trip told me a few days ago he is now on the Manna House board.
LORD, help your children to follow Paul’s clear statements about the Gospel in Galatians. We can contextualize our Gospel presentation to different groups like the Jews and the Gentiles in the first century, but in every generation we must always remember to meet the needs of the poor. https://www.mannahousemidlothian.org/about-us
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!