Everyone has needs.
We need a comforting arm or a companion for the journey;
a safe dwelling place or a square meal;
a time of rest or rededication.
From every community, every family, every economic level,
people seek help,
a source of fulfillment for the things they lack.
God invites us into a life of abundance,
where all can be filled,
and where all will be called
to become helpers, too.
Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?
James 2:5-7next >
It is easier to stay out of trouble than to get out of trouble. It was true in Bible times too; when James wrote to the early churches, they had already gotten in trouble, by confusing richness in the Kingdom with richness in the wallet.
They were failing to honor the poor (one version of the Scripture translates this as “you have humiliated the poor”), and they were treating the wealthy like royalty. They allowed the rich to own them — to oppress them, to insult them, to blaspheme — but they continued to bow down to the rich and to their pocketbooks.
They didn’t understand that God’s accounting system doesn’t measure in dollars, or euros, or pesos, or yen. God counts the heart, and by that calculation, those whose pockets are empty often hold the true wealth. The poor may not look like royalty, but they are the ones who will inherit the very Kingdom.
Nikki Finkelstein-Blairnext >
Help me, God, to stay out of trouble, to avoid bowing down to those who only want to buy and rule me. Guide me to serve those who deserve honor, who are your true heirs. Amen.next >
As the hands and feet of God,
we put our faith to work in service to the world,
trusting in the One who has helped us,
and called us
to lead us to those in need.
Let us love as God loves:
with hands ready to get dirty,
with feet ready to walk far,
with eyes ready to see hardship,
with hearts ready to receive.
Let us love as God loves:
with lives ready to serve.
Nikki Finkelstein-Blair is an ordained Baptist minister, wife to a US Navy chaplain, and stay-home mom to two little boys. In every new duty station, she participates in church life from VBS to pulpit supply, and is regularly involved in women’s ministries and writing. She blogs seasonal devotions at The Ordinary Times.