Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Thought for Thursday 30 April 2015

“He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.”  Proverbs 17:5 NKJV

It is not always easy to discern between the poor who have gotten caught up in unfortunate circumstances, and the poor who refuse to do for themselves.  Without being actively engaged in relationship, there is no way to “just know” how things really are.  Because we generally have everything we need, and some more than others, it is hard to understand how someone can reach such a low point.  Especially for those who have never had to work, who have never had moments of uncertainty, whose parents have always given them what they need without question, it is virtually impossible to appreciate how or why others struggle so.  This is why Jesus teaches of danger to those whose entire lives are dependent on money.  Deep down many do not see the blessing intended for blessing others.  They only see entitlement.

We are all, however, in danger of falling into this trap.  When Jesus teaches of the dangers of wealth and the “camel through the eye of a needle”, He is not speaking exclusively about bazillionaires!  We are all one step away from the snares that so easily entangle when we can so easily forget our Maker when we have plenty.  The book of Judges alone can teach us this, and it is a safe bet that the whole nation of Israel was not a nation of bazillionaires.

I wish I could see more easily through those who come to the church I serve, for instance, needing food or a utility bill paid.  The resources are not always available; but even if they are available, I get caught up in trying to decide whether the request is genuine or if I’m just being played.  Frankly it usually feels like I’m being played because these who come to my door rarely say “thank you” – and NONE return for worship though they are always invited and encouraged to explore such a relationship with a people willing to help.

And there is the spiritual dilemma for many.  It is when we “mock” those who come and go so easily without really understanding who they are and where they come from; it is when we gain some perverted sense of satisfaction in believing they are getting what they have coming to them.  Rich or poor or anywhere in between, it is a common challenge we all face.

I don’t know what the answer is, of course, and this is the point.  There is too much we do not know and cannot know if we do not care to go to the trouble of finding out what the whole story is.  We do not care to get past that cursed “you can just tell”.  As it is written, “pride goes before destruction”.  Pride in our intellect is as dangerous as pride in our stuff!

Lest we forgot, “our” Maker is “their” Maker.  “Our” God is “their God” even if they call their God by another Name – or no name.  As Jesus was crucified for “us”, so was He also crucified for “them” – whether one believes it or not.  As we judge, so are we judged – “saved” or not.  We must not let our abundance or our lack convince us we are somehow better or more favored than another, for our God and Father does not show “partiality” (Acts 10:34). 

I suppose the lesson for us is that it really does not matter whether we can accurately discern.  St. Paul did not seem to mind being considered a “fool” for Christ.  Maybe we should not mind, either.



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