Remember the Poor
John Wesley believed that it was his Christian duty to care for the poor. He instructed the members of his societies to go to them – not to wait for them to come to us.
To one society matron he wrote the following admonition:
“Do not confine your conversation to gentle and elegant people. I should like this as well as you do. But I cannot discover a precedent for it in the life of our Lord, or any of His Apostles. My dear friend, let you and I walk as He walked...I want you to converse more, abundantly more, with the poorest of the people, who, if they have not taste, have souls, which you may forward on their way to heaven. And they have (many of them) faith, and the love of God in a larger measure than any persons I know. Creep in among these, in spite of dirt, and a hundred disgusting circumstances; and thus put off the gentlewoman.”
--from a letter to “A Member of the Society,” February 7, 1776
I read recently an article that asked the question: How many poor people do you really know? Do you have any poor friends? The convicting question made me stop and think. The bottom line is that if all our associations and friendships are with the wealthy and well respected then we are far from the practices both Jesus and John Wesley.
Remembering the poor is a directive found often in the Scriptures. We are challenged to “uphold the cause of the poor” (Psalm 82:3). Likewise, “whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker.” (Proverbs 14: 31). When Jesus first announces His ministry He says that at least one of the things He had come to do was to “proclaim good news to the poor.”
Now it is commendable to give money to some charity that ministers to the poor. We should do that as often as we can. Yet, I believe it is far more Christlike to get to know the poor. That will require us going to them. As you do, you may be surprised to may find that they are wonderful people who may just be a little down on their luck. Wesley once said, “I love the poor. In many of them I find pure genuine grace, unmixed with paint, folly, and affectation.” - from a letter, 1757
Begin by praying that God will place the poor on your heart and then look for ways to engage with them. You will find your life enriched in the process.
Have a great week!