When I was growing up, I was friends with a girl from my church. We were really tight for a while, and spent a lot of time together. Our nicknames rhymed, which was kind of cute and made us seem like quite the pair. We were at this incredibly awkward age where we just sticking our feelers out and dipping our toes into our own identities. We’d only begun to ask the question “Who am I really?” I think that was truly the cement of our relationship, because looking back on it now, I’m not so sure that we would have been friends otherwise. We didn’t have much else in common, at least personality wise. We were both chubby and insecure though, and just plain boy crazy. I had the most dehabilitating crush on her older brother. It was a good time.
Near the end of our friendship, right around the time we were about fifteen or so, I remember riding in the car with her and her mother. They were taking me home. I don’t remember the exact words she used, but she said something derogatory about people who live in trailers, something that made her seem like she was above them, better. And I remember how it felt to get out of the car when they dropped me off at home, where I lived in a trailer.
As an adult, I understand now that she wasn’t necessary scorning people who live in trailers, but the poor (which I was not). I want you to know that I’m not knocking this girl down. I honestly don’t think that she said it to hurt me. It was thoughtless privilege. We were only kids and everyone is guilty of the “I’m better than you” complex from time to time. This type of thinking is actually endemic in the church today, as sad as that is, especially when it comes to the needy.
Poor people tend to have problems, problems that are unique to being poor, like not having enough to eat or not being able to afford to pay the light bill. They have messy lives that bleed onto others who associate with them. They are often impacted by drug abuse and domestic violence and tend to have a lot of family problems. I’m not saying that these types of problems are only relegated to poor people, but the fact remains that poor people are more likely to have them. They don’t really have much to offer when the offering plate comes around and it’s not much of a picnic to go about the business of helping them out. It’s quite costly. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret, a secret that I’ll bet you already know: Jesus died for them too. It’s pretty simple really. The ground at the cross is level. And believe me, I am not coming at you from a self righteous place. My heart is convicted this morning.
The Bible is pretty clear in its commands to help the poor and the needy. I think it’s funny that we waffle around with questions about God’s will for our lives when all we have to do is look in our Bibles to know. What’s God’s will for your life? Well, He wants you to help the poor. How do I know? Well, because He said so.
So what are we doing? Are we really living the scripture? Are we truly devoted to following Christ’s ways? How are we welcoming the less fortunate into the church? A better question might be how are we going out of our way to be the hands and feet of Christ to the poor? Because on top of all of their problems, there is one that trumps the rest. Coming from a trailer park near you, is someone who is dead in their sin and desperately needs the Savior.