Remember the Poor!


They only asked us to remember the poor—the very thing I also was eager to do.
(Galatians 2:10 NASB)


Paul had gone to Jerusalem to have a meeting with the leaders of the Church. It was an important meeting as they were discussing the foundational "rules" for Christianity. The big discussion revolved around the practice of circumcision. If a Greek, who was not Jewish, became a believer, would he have to be circumcised. It was all about following the rules or the laws. Finally, after much prayer and discussion the report came back that this was not a priority. The only priority which Paul was given was to "remember the poor."


At times I think we fail to realize that ministering to the poor was the number one priority of the early church. As we can see in this situation with Paul, even the personal concerns, or concerns over personal holiness took a back seat to ministering to the poor.
During the years of the Russian Empire, Peter the Great had a squabble with the Patriarch Nikon. Nikon overreached in his desire to have power. Peter decided he would clip the wings of Nikon, and the entire church. He decided the one of the best ways to reduce the Church's influence was to make charitable work illegal. No longer could the Church run the hospitals, schools, or minister to the poor. The Church lost its influence on the daily life of society and eventually this left such a vacuum that the government was able to completely take over and the result was seventy years of communism.
We, the Church, God's people, must remember that our calling is to love God, and then to love our neighbors, no matter their economic status. The Church cannot forget her mission and calling to the poor, for when we do, others without a motivation of love, will rise up in her place.


Lord, may I be sensitive to the world around me and its needs -- and give me wisdom to know how to respond. Amen.


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