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Rich and Poor

Rich and Poor

Words of Faith 4-28-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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James 2:5-7

      Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?  But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?  Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?

 

        It was an unusually cold winter. The family that came by the church was just the last in a stream of people that year coming by wanting help.  Some had been hucksters.  Many had genuine needs. Each time I helped people, I prayed that God would not allow my heart to be hardened to people in genuine need just because of the few who are cons.

        This guy seemed particularly sincere when he told me his story about losing everything when the plant in his town closed up North.  Two kids asleep in the back of an old station wagon amid what looked to be everything this family-owned. This seemed to attest to the story.  The wife seemed too embarrassed even to talk.  They both seemed genuinely ashamed of the whole situation.  It was "something they had never done before"... asking for help.  All they wanted was some gas and a little food. I believed them.

         As I filled the tank at the 7-11, I was struck by the innocence of this sleeping child illuminated by neon light in her slumber.  How easily she could have been my own daughter or granddaughter if only circumstances were a little different.  Then the man came out of the store carrying the food bought on my credit card.  It wasn't much, but I would turn in the receipt to the church treasurer.  "The Body of Christ is at work," I thought.

        We were about to part, and the man thanked me and put out his hand.  Most don't do that.  Most move quickly on their way once they have their gas and food.  It took me back for just the tiniest moment. Then I shook his hand, and he was on his way. 

       To this day, I don't think he knew or noticed... that split second that I hesitated to grasp his hand.  But I knew.  Later Jesus made it clear to me.  It was actually His hand, the hand of Jesus that I hesitated to touch, albeit briefly.  Matthew 25:35 was suddenly very real in front of me. “For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you welcomed me…”  I have never forgotten. 

       We call that “conviction.”  That is what James speaks into our lives and those moments when we treat the poor with anything but respect.  Remember?  Jesus is not a respecter of persons, but He is a dis-respecter of none.  Sure, there are times we cannot help.  The poor actually respond well to honesty, while the cons are often revealed at this point.  That is not the point.  James raised the issue this way, "But you have insulted the poor."

        James also points out that those who are "poor" are poor only in the eyes of the world.  That is what we often miss.  With the eyes of Jesus, I might have seen a princess asleep in the back of that station wagon.  I might have chatted with royalty if I had tapped on the window after filling the tank.  I came close, but I missed that.

        And these who are poor in the eyes of the world are chosen to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom.  Perhaps this is because people who have nothing often live very close to God.  It is a place of great dependence and humility.  Such people may teach us some things about prayer, trust, and stewardship.

       Yet our culture continues to be in awe of the "worldly rich" who often know very little of God, faith, or humility.  Hmmmm.  What a mixed-up world it can be.  Thank you, James, brother of Jesus, for reminding us. 

 

     Lord, forgive me for averting my eyes, for looking with judgment at those who are hurting, for mixing up the priorities of life and missing those who are really rich with the things of God.  Give me Your eyes to see and Your heart to care with.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

 

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2009, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.