January 19, 2018
Luke 12:8-9… And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
You might say, “I would never deny Jesus.” But, denial comes in many forms. If you ignore or disobey His words, you deny His authority. He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you make it through a day without concern for your neighbor, you have denied Him, because you will likely not go through a day without concern for yourself. Loving Jesus gives us a different way to think.
It is more than the thoughts themselves; it is the process of thinking that is changed. How do you handle thoughts?
When you are reminded of a person with a need, do you promptly disregard it with excuses… or do you seek to meet the need? How do you handle that fleeting thought? It takes intention and purpose to handle a thought in God’s way. Thoughts will come and go; how we handle them is our part in the process. Jesus said, “The poor you will have with you always.” He did not say, “Get used to it. It is your way of life.” The poor in our midst are a constant reminder that we are to give to the hurting and poor amongst us.
I struggle with this a bit. I see the poor as products of their choices. I know how wrong that is, but my time on earth has taught me that a lot of poverty is self-initiated. If I think like that, I try to determine if a poor person is just lazy or if they have truly had some tough hurdles to jump. Jesus did not make those distinctions. He just said “poor”. I am possibly trying, unwittingly, to discern as God does. He is God; I am not. My role is to feed the poor.
Paul, in one of his letters, however, said, “Know the widows among you, who are widows indeed, and help them. That seems to say that there were fake widows in the midst of the church. Widows were to be cared for first by relatives, but in the absence of relatives, the church was to take care of them.
Women showed up at churches asking for help. We were warned to make sure they were truly widows. No matter who you are caring for, it is necessary to listen to them. By listening, you will build relationship. That is key.