How Does God Care For The Poor?

Does he stop meeting needs and start seeking Shalom?

Got a verse for that?

Show me.

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17 comments

  1. Patrizia Blondett Veen · 20 Days Ago

    It’s a hard question.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Agent X · 19 Days Ago

    Anonymous comment says:

    Confirming One’s Calling in God
    His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
    Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
    For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
    For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
    Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
    I Peter 1

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Agent X · 19 Days Ago

    When I first started a draft of this post, I got busy with other duties and came back to it. Then I got busy again, and came back again. Then again. I had not hardly got it off the ground when I decided to give up on it. I deleted the thoughts I started and almost shelved the post altogether when it occurred to me just to pose the pointed questions you see here.

    I notice that the nice folx at the Lupton Center offer a very well-polished course (and charge a lot of money to experience it) where they develop the notion that our service to the poor and needy should be to “stop meeting needs and start seeking Shalom”. These folx are heavily invested in this idea, and so is the church where I attend – and I imagine so are a lot of other churches around the nation.

    I also notice that none of them are answering these questions, not on my blog and not in the class when it is offered. Perhaps we should forgive them for not reading this blog, it is such a humble blog with a very small readership. But these “scholars” with their “critical analyses” should address such questions and do so “biblically”. Yet they do not.

    As I formulated the title on this post, I was initially thinking in biblical terms. “How does God care for the poor?” I think the answer is a bit surprising, actually – certainly some aspects of that answer are. I think of Jesus sending word to John who is concerned that Jesus might not really be “the One” we are waiting for (curious that he sends word asking the one he is doubting, btw), and Jesus answers saying “The blind see, the lame walk… ” which sounds to me like God is meeting needs on the one hand, and then he ends saying “The poor have the Good News proclaimed to them”.

    This is a curious development in Jesus’ response to John’s messengers. Everybody else is getting needs met. The poor, it would seem, need wealth to counteract their poverty, but the sign that Jesus is the One John can have confidence in is that the poor hear the Good News!

    Now… we can go different directions splitting hairs about what that means. But my point at the moment is that this is a surprising answer to the question the title of the post poses. It is not the whole story by any stretch, but it is surprising in its own right. And in fact, if I were defending the slogan developed and put out by the Lupton Center, I think this passage would likely be one I would try to use because the prima facie case lends it weight, I think.

    There are, as I suggest, other surprises and other answers to the question. I am sure my thoughts here, as well as my post in general (had I developed it to the fullest), would not exhaust all the relevant biblical approaches, but I think I could say enough powerful and important things to be persuasive and send us looking for alternatives to the Lupton Center offerings.

    My initial thought was to look at how God created the first humans in utter naked vulnerability. In the state in which he first created them there really is no context for wealth or poverty. Those humans are sorta both and neither at the same time. Naked vulnerability in today’s context goes with poverty, but in the Beginning, it ruled the world. Hmmm… There was no cash to be had, horded, or shared. And I suggest that the introduction of cash into the world since then has gone a long way (if not being totally responsible for) corrupting human imagination and keeping the creation in bondage to decay. But that is starting to go outside the scope of this post, so I will stop there for now. Staying with the point at hand, I think if we are asking what God DOES in regard to poverty, it is of interest to examine the condition he put the first humans in among the created order. And I find that in his economy, naked vulnerability prove important for faith and trust, but in today’s world economy they demonstrate poverty and tend to draw either pity or scorn instead of admiration. When we get to Jesus, he embraces naked vulnerability as part of his saving grace as he takes the crown, and thereby otherwise turns almost everything we think and do upside down. But more of that later…

    I also considered what God SAYS, in addition to what he does. I spend a bit of time reading Deut 14 and 15, two passages that direct God’s people to be generous to the poor by design. And I note this generosity culminates in using one tenth of the gross national income of Israel to throw a party where the poor and vulnerable are the featured guests! This is so entirely counterintuitive for “worldly wisdom”, but it is the commands of God. We see Jesus command his followers in just these terms in Luke 14, and I think we need to take this seriously – far more than I find Bible “scholars” doing anywhere I have looked, but I would love it if someone shows me otherwise.

    I note this is not a meeting-needs answer to the issues of poverty, at least not on the face of it. However, I think if we dig theologically into this kind of ministry, we will find it does meet needs. But I will save that for another time too.

    In the meantime, I notice that several other passages start bouncing sparks with these in Deut and Luke in some very curious ways that need to be explored. For one thing, I am mindful that in Matt 25, Jesus very clearly outlines how Judgment is decided based on how people meet the needs of the poor (or not) in some very specific ways (a notion I have not yet dealt with, but looms large on the horizon already). But in the same passage, Jesus identifies himself with those poor needy people, and this starts bouncing sparks with the first observation I made about the condition in which God placed the first people and the economy he orders their world in.

    But wait, there’s more!

    In identifying himself with the vulnerable and needy, he also identifies God with them, and the bit we were just exploring about partying with the poor like we find in Deut and Luke starts bouncing sparks off that passage in Hebrews 13 about being hospitable and entertaining angels unaware. (Some of you are not making the connection between being hospitable and throwing a party, but on a venn diagram there is a LOT of overlap between these notions – so much that we will surely be pardoned for using them synonymously). And this notion is supported all the more when we consider that the writer of Hebrews very likely had Genesis 18 in mind when this was written. There Abe and Sarah throw a party for God unaware! God who appears as a sojourner (think trespasser)! Hmmmm…

    I am starting to think I should have taught the Seeking Shalom class! The Lupton Center didn’t approach serving the poor with ANY of this very biblical and critical analysis.

    I am not here making a case that throwing a party for the poor is the same as meeting their needs, but I suggest that if it is not a need met, it certainly accentuates the meeting of needs. Personally, I think it is more than accentuation, but I will save making that case for another time.

    Now…

    I am aware that I have one reader who is not satisfied unless this stuff is offered in a very scholarly way. I think this does that. I am not defending a dissertation here, no. But I don’t have to either. So, if you are still unhappy with that, so be it.

    On the other hand, I am addressing people of Lubbock – well aiming to anyway, and interested people worldwide who stand to be influenced by books, seminars, and courses like those put out by the Lupton Center. I assure you their presentations are not more scholarly than this even though they use real scholars (at least one of them quite respectable too). And they certainly are not nearly as biblical. I mean when you put a production together about a lady with buckets of water and sharing them with neighbors it makes a nice 10 minute video, but it is not something out of the Bible. When you then criticize the lady for sharing her buckets with some witty and pithy statements, you are not being biblical. And when you then pepper the end of the lecture with some irrelevant bible verses, you might have become biblical in the sense that you actually used a verse, but you are far from scholarly and critical when the verse you use is merely a decoration and irrelevant to the point the video made about the lady with the buckets. And the Lupton Center operates at about that speed for well over 3/4ths of their seminar. They are not defending a dissertation either, but they are persuading churches and Christians all over America to stop meeting needs of the poor in some warped idea that this will help us find Shalom.

    So… since I am juggling other responsibilities here, this comment will have to suffice for what almost would have been my post.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. What a great comment. Nailed it for sure. Still waiting for someone to show you the verse about not taking care of the poor. I’m drawing a blank for sure.

    Be blessed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agent X · 19 Days Ago

      Me too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · 19 Days Ago

      Yeah… I am sad that I have all this good stuff to offer (and this is only beginning, really), but I didn’t get a hearing AT ALL. My own church has no use for it or me. But this whole “stop meeting needs” business gets all the traction a fancy class you have to pay to take can get. Makes me really think there is a stinky agenda underlying it. Otherwise, how do you explain it?

      Thanx for the response.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for standing firm and speaking the truth. God compels us to take care of the poor. Jesus wants it done now. The truth can’t be ignored without peril coming along. Much is stake. Eternity in fact.

        This comes to mind:

        So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

        You are free. Let’s keep working for others to know the truth of Jesus. I am inspired by your faithfulness.

        Be blessed. God is with you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Agent X · 19 Days Ago

        Wow!

        Thanx.

        Like

  5. I am doing a little research on Robert Lupton and the Lupton Center. This is very concerning. I see why this is upsetting. This gentleman seems to have a large megaphone and has attracted a lot of attention. People are “buying” what he has to say.

    Thanks for alerting us to what is going on.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Trying to find this in the scripture. From John Upton:

    “Oath for Compassionate Service,” a missions equivalent to the doctor’s Hippocratic Oath.
    –Never do for the poor what they have (or could have) the capacity to do for themselves.
    –Limit one-way giving to emergency situations.
    –Strive to empower the poor through employment, lending, and investing, using grants sparingly to reinforce achievements.
    –Subordinate self-interests to the needs of those being served. Listen closely to those you seek to help, especially to what is not being said—unspoken feelings may contain essential clues to effective service.
    –Above all, do no harm.

    Contrast with what Jesus thinks:

    –For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat
    –I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink
    –I was a stranger, and you invited Me in
    –naked, and you clothed Me
    –I was sick, and you visited Me
    –I was in prison, and you came to Me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agent X · 19 Days Ago

      Yup, that’s what I’m taking about.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · 19 Days Ago

      None of that oath garbage is biblical, and in fact is very misleading. It plays well for the haves, I think, who want to use reverse psychology on themselves and subtly talk themselves out of caring too much. Thus it also is misleading in God’s church. As you point out, it flies in the face of Jesus’ own words, and does so with a Judgment passage no less. Very dangerous stuff.

      Meanwhile, people freeze to death in the winter cold, while church members fork up at least $25 a head to sit around discussing this stuff – and certainly NOT giving that $25 to a needy person so that you “first do no harm…”

      I think the reason why I don’t get a hearing is not because of my tone or any of that smoke screen, it is because we just bought a lie and we are trying to enjoy it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • T. F. Thompson · 19 Days Ago

      This goes along with the liberal bs of the new age people who love to tell us we are enabling everyone. Reminds me of: “To decrease the world population” bit from Scrooge. Sure, this all works well if you want a good reason NOT to do what Jesus told us to do; this is wonderful if you are not a Christian. Heck, the liberals of our society are actually very quick to come up with a program to help whatever cause they determine one needs. For Christians, thank God they have the home, the car the job and other goodies that most in the world don’t. Thank God as well, they weren’t there when Jesus was doing what HE did for they would be stopping Him, telling Him how he was doing it all wrong. Wait a minute?????????????????? Isn’t that what the Jews had to say about Jesus at the time? Sure, and they bumped Him off for He was too dangerous. If we follow, we are dangerous as well. In fact, if we are not, then surely we are doing it all wrong.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jonathan Erdman · 8 Days Ago

        There are a lot of liberal Christians helping a lot of people survive under capitalism. So while I (as a socialist) may have my own reservations about many liberal policies (as well as their refusal to seriously question capitalism), I appreciate that they’ve fought for the meager government programs that do exist. It isn’t enough, but the scant programs available have helped many people who would otherwise have been left to destitution within the global capitalist economy.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. clashofcashntrash · 19 Days Ago

    He gives hand outs. Just look at him crucified there on that Roman cross with his hands out paying a debt you cannot repay even before you asked. He would ruin himself to give you freedom from sin, and he will not manipulate you into living right for him in the slightest.

    That’s Jesus.

    But its not his church. Not in America today anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The Gathering Journal · 18 Days Ago

    I believe that God takes care of the poor through the love and obedience of Believers to His greatest commandment… to love Him first…and then to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We are to be like Jesus. We are to be His hands and feet…His heart! “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” -Matthew 22:36-40 If we truly love God, we will see things through His eyes, and the suffering of others will break our hearts and move us to compassion on those less fortunate than us! WE…true Believers should be compelled to take care of the poor! -anita

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · 18 Days Ago

      Thanx for this comment!

      I couldn’t say it better.

      I love how you cued in on Love God n Love Others. That actually is the church motto where I attend. It is so curious that loving the poor like Jesus somehow doesn’t cut it there though. We mean well, I think, but only sorta. When it comes to defending the idea that our love for the poor is misguided and harmful, we are just sure Jesus’ way needs improved. The arrogance is subtle enough that we kid ourselves about it.

      Like

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