My last post has generated some fruitful conversations regarding the internet, radicalizing young men, and what the Christian response to all this might be. Pastor Wilson has also graciously promised to respond. I thank him in advance for hearing me.
In the meantime, I have been pondering how we effectively help the poor, what is the heart and spirit there supposed to be, how does that all fit into politics? I found it interesting that a few people viewed Paul as having a harsher view of charity, “if you don’t work you shouldn’t eat.” I don’t see that all, those words put into context show he’s actually speaking to the early church, to Christians. Paul is NOT looking down on a street beggar and saying, serves you right you’re hungry.
Poor Paul, he must be the most maligned and misunderstood figure in the bible. I don’t see those things in him at all, I see his concern for the early church, his heart for service,…..and his great love for women. Read his kind words about Lydia, Priscilla.
I have been focused on Acts 3:6-7 however, Peter and the beauty to be found in those words. Peter and John go up to the temple and encounter a beggar asking for alms. The verses tell us, “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.”
That is the kind of charitable heart we are called to have. It is not about questions rooted in a scarcity mentality, “how much should I give,” or “is this guy worthy?” It is not about tithing 10% or dropping a coin into a cup as you walk by. We aren’t called to simply meet someone’s immediate and dire needs, forever finding them in crisis mode. Peter and John are exemplifying charity in the mindset of God’s abundance, His infinite love that knows no bounds. We aren’t being called to simply feed the poor here, we’re being called to total transformation in Christ’s name, to heal and cure what ails them, to lift them up, to infuse their very bones with strength.
That’s a daunting task, an immense perception of charity, one based on God’s abundance, not on man’s scarcity.
The next verse says, “And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”
He’s not just standing on his own two feet, he’s actually leaping and praising God. And then he enters the temple with them, together.
Life and life abundant, charity without a penny spent.