When you escape the American bubble and get into a 3rd world country you are overwhelmed by many things. Perhaps the most impactful is poverty. In the US we are surrounded by materialism and overflowing abundance in all things—not just money. I recall several years ago the first time I got back from Haiti. I was blown away by how green and lush everything was. Carefully manicured lawns and landscaping around perfect houses replaced dirt, piles of garbage, and people living in broken down buildings with tin roofs.
The Bible has much to say about the poor. Between the Old and New Testaments it uses a word for “poor” 178 times. The prophet Isaiah, speaking of the future work of the Messiah says this “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound…” (Isaiah 61:1 ESV).
Several hundred years later, Jesus walked into a synagogue in Jerusalem, stands up, reads this passage aloud and says “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21 ESV). Jesus says that He is the Messiah and he is going to, among other thing
s, bring good news to the poor. This has two implications.
First, the center of the Bible, the redemptive plan of God in Jesus, includes the physically poor. Some people are poor through poor life decisions, some by sudden hardship, but some are born into extreme poverty. God cares deeply for all humans, made in his image and so should we.
Second, spiritually speaking, we are all poor. We all enter this world spiritually bankrupt because of sin and are all equal at the foot of the cross – rich and poor alike. We come to bring good news to the spiritually poor, and that good news is the gospel of Jesus Christ – God takes his glorious riches in grace and credits our account through faith in Jesus.
This is why we “do” mission work in our towns, our country, and worldwide. We are all spiritual poor people who need the hope of the gospel, and God loves those less fortunate deeply and so should we.
We are thankful for the part we get to play in missions, join us on Sunday evening, Sept 3, 2017 at 6pm at Highlands for a report from the Haiti Team!