Thursday - Act On It - The Night That Changed the Poor
Why does it matter if God uses the poor? Why does it matter to us, if we’re not poor by the world’s standards, if this is a night that changes the poor? We may not be nomadic shepherds sleeping with the sheep in a field, but this still matters to us.
We are in spiritual poverty. It’s different from material poverty, but very important to recognize.
A sign is offered to us, from the poorest among us to the wealthiest, and it’s a poor baby in a manger. This comes to us direct from God, though his heavenly messengers. God helps us see our own poverty – spiritual and material – by his standards rather than our own.
When we see our own spiritual poverty compared to Jesus, we realize we need to get up and get to this baby, get to Jesus’ bedside just like those shepherds. A spiritually or materially wealthier group may not have bothered – they may have considered themselves just fine – but the poor are those God started with because they are those who know they need outside help.
When we have enough, we can’t hunger for food. It’s the same with God – if we consider ourselves spiritually rich and self-reliant, we won’t bother with reliance on God.
This is why, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor, or poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.”
In the Christmas story, all of humanity sees its poverty, its spiritual poverty, compared to this divine baby. We realize we are unable to get back to relationship with God, and yet he comes to us anyway. We realize we can’t buy our way out of this debt to God (called sin), so someone else bailed us out and paid it off.
In the Christmas story, God helps us see our own poverty – spiritual and material.
In so doing, we realize the world’s standards are empty – we are all poor compared to God’s standards, and all need him equally. This can motivate us to extend to others, who we now recognize as spiritually poor themselves, the same generosity God has shown to us.
Challenge: Give to the spiritually and materially poor in your life! Toy drive, food bank, direct to a friend. Tell them why – because God has been generous and loving to you.