Fresh Initiative #5: Good news to the poor.
We will develop new strategies for proclaiming the all-satisfying supremacy of God’s love and justice to the poor through 1) personal involvement; 2) a more welcoming atmosphere; 3) local missionary strategies of urban disciple making; and 4) equipping missionaries for unreached urban peoples.
1. He became poor. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
2. His mother was poor. “For [God] has had regard for the lowly estate of his bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed” (Luke 1:48).
3. He was born in a cow stall. “She gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped him in cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).
4. He was dedicated with the “poor” offering. When the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord … and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of their Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:22-24; cf. Leviticus 12:6-8).
5. He was anointed to preach to the poor. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden” (Luke 4:18).
6. He called the poor blessed and the rich woeful. “And turning his gaze on his disciples, he began to say, ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God…But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full” (Luke 6:20, 24).
7. He said it was hard for the wealthy to be saved. “Jesus looked at him and said, ‘How hard is it for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:24-25).
8. He called for anxiety-free sell-offs to get a wartime lifestyle. “Do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on… But seek for his kingdom, and these things shall be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to charity…For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:22, 31-34).
9. He called for a passionate search for the poor. “Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame … When you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:21; 14:13-14).
10. He lived without accumulating even a home. “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20).
Why not spend time this Christmas pondering what these texts are calling us to be and do in Initiative #5?
Longing to be like Jesus,