The poor, the hungry, the needy
"We look back on slave-owning churchgoers of 150 years ago and ask, 'How could they have treated their fellow human beings that way?' I wonder if followers of Christ 150 years from now will look back at Christians in America today and ask, 'How could they live in such big houses? How could they drive such nice cars and wear such nice clothes? How could they live in such affluence while thousands of children were dying because they didn`t have food and water? How could they go on with their lives as though billions of poor didn`t even exist?'" (Platt 111)
Reading David Platt`s Radical has been a daily slap in the face. It is a necessary slap for each and every one of us who call ourselves Christ followers. Seeing pictures I`ve taken of food that I daily enjoy, or walking past the fridge full of food in my apartment, makes me sick to my stomach.
How do I miss this? How do I go on worshipping?
If I love Jesus, why don`t I love these people enough to sacrifice my comfort and self-sufficiency and trust Jesus to use me? "Caring for the poor is one natural overflow and a necessary evidence of the presence of Christ in our hearts" (Platt) Why isn`t this a picture of the life I live? Those who proclaim the gospel must also get their living from the gospel!
There is a radical shift that Platt shares in chapter 6 which I, and so many of us have completely missed. When Jesus said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" Why where the disciples amazed at his words? Why were they so surprised? "It is not that God changed or that the God of the OT was different from the God of the NT. Instead, the eternal plan of God was unfolding, and Jesus was ushering in a new phase in redemptive history, one that would affect the relationship between faith and material blessing. Jesus never promised material wealth as a reward for obedience like God did in the OT. As if this were not startling enough to first-century Jews, we also see no verse in the NT where God`s people are ever again commanded to build a majestic place of worship. Instead God`s people are told to be the temple-the place of worship. And their possessions are to be spent on building, not a place where people can come to see God`s glory, but a people who are taking God`s glory to the world.
All this begs the question, have we taken this shift in redemptive history into account in the way we approach our possessions today?" (Platt 117) For me the answer right now is no. And I don`t know what that answer is for you, but God does. "Like the rich young ruler in Mark 10, every Christian has to wrestle with what Jesus is calling us to do with our resources as we follow him." (Platt 119)
Is he Lord? Is he really the Lord of my life? If the answer is yes, than my faith requires radical obedience. "Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:33 Jesus doesn`t joke around. He was real, genuine, piercing the heart with his words. And this makes me uneasy, this makes all of us uneasy. And that is because we have to deal with it. And stop ignoring it. "Jesus looked at him and loved him." Mark 10:21 Jesus told him that, because he loved him! So what does that mean for my life? "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21
I have a lot of praying to do. "The way we use our money is an indicator of our eternal destination. The mark of Christ followers is that their hearts are in heaven and their treasures are spent there." (Platt 138)
I read this chapter last night and was filled with holy anger and holy passion to be changed and to change. And then this morning these are the words Jesus brought me in the word...how sovereign is my Jesus.
May he judge your poor with justice!
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the children of the needy,
and crush the oppressor!
For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
Psalm 72:2, 4, 12-13
The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry
The lips of the righteous feed many
The blessing of the LORD makes rich
Proverbs 10:3, 21-22
God I cry out that my heart would hear these words and never again brush them aside. Burn these words into my heart for eternity. Teach me how to live the life that reflects these truths as you transform my heart to be more and more like you. Reveal where I can give my time, my gifts, my resources that you may be most glorified in my life! You are doing something, and I submit to your work. Change this heart, remove my heart of stone and circumcise my heart so I will love you with all my heart, all my soul, and that I may live, really live. (Deut 30:6) Change all of our hearts God and unite us together so we can change the world for the glory of your name, for the fame of who you are!