Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Church Needs the Poor

Our failure to minister to the poor bears witness to the fact that we have a distorted view of the church. We can't escape the fact that the ministry of the gospel to the poor directly affects the health of the church. History testifies that church renewal usually occurs when it experiences a rebirth among the poor. It's in this milieu that New Testament values such as priesthood of the believer, community, discipleship, purity, and the gifts of the Spirit are recovered.
The church that is not involved with the poor is in declininig health. Of all the social classes of society, the poor is the class most necessary for the ongoing health of the church. Without the poor, the church gravitates toward middle and upper class complacency, resulting from its material comfort and resources, often followed by spiritual pride.
The contrast of the churches of Smyrna and Laodicea in the book of Revelation reveals the difference between the perspectives of God and man. Of Smyrna, the Lord says he knows their poverty, but in reality they are rich. The opposite is true of Laodicea. That church said it was rich, having need of nothing, but God said it was poor. Might this not be what we are witnessing today with the materially rich American church being poor spiritually while the materially poor churches of the third world countries are spiritually rich?

I would like to also encourage you in the same vein as Jovial Cynic (aka Josh). He and I bat around your posts every now and then. I'm always blessed by your wisdom. I'm a youngin' at 27 but it's clear the Lord has worked on your mind and heart many years. Your fruit is blessing two men on the West coast, who together lead a bible study of 12 people who will hopefully also be blessed.

Thanks for being faithful to God in this.
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