TITLE: Really, Really Poor
DATE: December 15, 2019
Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed.
TEXT: Luke 4:18-19 – ESV - “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
Our text tells us that Jesus will come to preach to the poor.
But in this land of plenty there are those who find themselves asking, ‘Are there poor people around? I mean really, genuinely poor people?”
Surprisingly enough the answer comes from Detroit, Michigan. In “Motortown” there was man who found himself in need of a kidney transplant. Unfortunately, he was unable to find a donor.
In order to speed things up, he advertised in the newspaper for a donor.
He didn’t know that it was illegal to buy organs. Apparently the 100+ callers who phoned him didn’t know it either. Amazingly, all 100 callers said they would be willing to sell him a kidney for the advertised price of $3,000.
It occurs to me an individual might be willing to give a kidney. But how poor does a person need to be to start selling body parts? So there’s your answer. Even when we are surrounded by riches, poverty still is present.
Our text tells us that Jesus will come to preach to the poor. Are there poor people around? Some time ago the Hinton Daily News in West Virginia carried the story of a 66-year-old widow who slept in the city's theatres and public restrooms because she couldn't afford to pay rent.
She appeared in Court on a charge of stealing a $1.00 head scarf from a department store.
The widow's husband had died 20 years ago leaving her nothing. Social Security went for food. She sold nameplates for doors, but that didn't bring in much. Without money for a room, she slept in downtown theatres. Her Golden Age card admitted her to theaters at reduced prices. She told the judge she had been living in this manner for the last two years.
There is a need to preach good news to the poor.
The Good News we are talking about, however, may not be the good news that poor people want to hear.
Many poor folks prefer hearing about a governmental godsend which will make for a fairer distribution of wealth. If you polled the poor and asked them what would be the best news that they could receive, most of them would say 'food, shelter, money and the like.'
At this point, many a preacher might suggest that people really don't need those things. Poor people should yearn for the spiritual alone. But that's not true. Jesus realized that people have earthly needs when He spoke about judgment day.
"Did you clothe me when I was naked, feed me when I was hungry; visit me in prison." No, we dare not make light of these physical needs. That is why it pleases me greatly to see so many congregations doing what they can to help the poor in the Savior’ Name.
It is, after all, what He would want.
THE PRAYER: Lord in this season of repentance help me do what I can to help the unfortunate. In Jesus’ holy Name I pray it. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html