Social Distinctions again. My thoughts on this go way back to when I was reading That Printer of Udell’s. Some of you may remember the little review I did of that book. I heard someone say just last night, "God wants us to be involved with our communities, and He wants us to feed the poor." These statements are nowhere in scripture, yet if someone said them, most of us would be saying "Amen!" within our hearts.
Hear me out. Christ came to establish a community in which His will was done. His goal was to eliminate social statuses (stati?) of all who trust in Him. When we use terms like "poor", we are automatically assuming that we are in a higher social class than they are. By using these terms we create this invisible wall between us and those we minister to. It’s almost like some have the attitude, "I’ll give to the poor and do my part for these poor, unfortunate people."
In the kingdom of God, which we enter upon our salvation, there is no slave or free, there is no rich or poor. The early church had all things in common. Anything that was needed was supplied by others because no one thought that anything belonged to them, but all things belonged to God.
Once someone is in Christ, are they any longer to be considered with a social label? Do we apply the terms "rich Christian", or "poor Christian, or "middle class Christian"? Or are they our brother or sister in Christ with no social distinction label to be applied to them? When I reach out to some Christian who is less fortunate than I am in a monetary way, if I use the term poor, am I not contributing to the plight?
I have thought about this as Tom and myself have grown closer. Is Tom a poor person? Or is Tom simply my brother in Christ? When I give Tom a ride to church, am I really doing anything special? Or is it a ride to church in the family car? My car really isn’t mine, but it’s on loan from God for use in all family matters. Do I deserve any thanks for anything that I do for Tom? Or am I simply taking care of my brother?
Once I do away with any type of social distinction between Tom and myself, I am suddenly free from any anxieties about "helping a poor man". Tom is NOT a poor man. He is a child of the king and will inherit the universe right alongside me. Does God want us to feed the poor? Is that the right question? Is there something deeper that we have been missing?
This is one of my concerns about the emergent church. Are they embracing the poor, or simply feeding them?
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman