A man approached him and said, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus said, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There’s only one who is good. If you want to enter eternal life, keep the commandments.” The man said, “Which ones?” Then Jesus said, “Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” The young man replied, “I’ve kept all these. What am I still missing?” Jesus said, “If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away saddened, because he had many possessions (Matthew 19:16-22, Common English Bible).
I am forever grateful to God that I was not born poor. I recognize that while I am not wealthy, not by a long shot. I am also not close to being poor. I once heard it said, but I can’t remember by who, “If you own a car, regardless of the year model, regardless of the number of miles it has gone, by the standards of the world, you are not poor.”
That does not, however, mean we don’t have poor people around us and that there are not poor people in the world. I also realize that there are people in certain parts of the country who do not own a car but are also not poor.
All that being said, there are poor people around us. There are people who don’t have transportation. There are people who can’t afford their kids school supplies. There are people who don’t know where their next meal will come from or how they will keep a roof over their head each night.
We have a moral obligation to give these people help. That is particularly the case for children. I believe it is a sin against all of us that in a world where we raise enough sustainable food to feed everyone on the planet and yet people in general and children in particular still go hungry. We should be ashamed of ourselves. We need to take the time to ask for forgiveness. We also need to be willing to step forward and work to do something about the issue with things like summer feeding programs and backpack programs that feed children on the weekends.
Day before yesterday we began looking at this passage with Jesus’ instruction to the Rich Young Man to follow the commandments. That wasn’t enough for him so he asked Jesus, “What else.” Jesus told him to go sell all he had. That was our focus yesterday. Jesus continued by telling him to give the money to the poor. That is our focus for today.
I find it interesting that the instruction was not to sell all he had and bring the money back for the common treasury. He was to give it to the poor. It wasn’t that Jesus wanted the money personally, he wanted it to help those in need. But, then again, as we shall see when we get to chapter 25, when we give to the poor, we give to Jesus.
How do you live out giving to the poor?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved