“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…” – Luke 4:18, and also Isaiah 61:1
The poor need provision. And I strongly agree that if we have something to give, we ought to give it. That’s what was mentioned in Proverbs 3:28; it was like the writer knew back in the day as much as we know right now, that it actually helps more to give instead of to ‘send positive thoughts and prayers’, ESPECIALLY if you do have something to give.
Timothy Keller defined true justice as helping the widow, the fatherless and the oppressed, based also from the book of Isaiah.. and he went even further, saying that this wasn’t an option, but it ought to be an automatic thing for those of us who have been entrusted with more. It wasn’t good to hold off on giving.
If we can give, we must give. But here’s the thing. In our giving, one thing that we ought to remember is that we are effectively doing much more than addressing lack… we are also coming against wealth in the wrong things. If Christ proclaims that the first thing that the poor need is good news, then this more than likely means that there’s an abundance of bad news in their minds that needs to be flushed out.
What is this good news? It is truth of Jesus Christ and His finished work. And, like any other newsworthy news, the measure of how effective we are in sharing it is in how much we live it – not how much we know it, not how much we memorize it, but how much we live it, which consequently reflects how much we believe it.
And, truthfully, we can never stop learning more about the good news of Christ. It isn’t physically possible for a created mind to grasp the full extent of its Creator. Fortunately, the foundational news we start learning is that this news is good news, and it will always be good for us.
It is Christ alive in us, shining through us. Christ is literally with us when we hear the plights of the poor – we give in full union with Him. Everything that we do is done in Christ, and Christ in us. When we wake up in the morning, Christ is alive in us. As we sleep, we sleep in Christ. As we are on the top of the mountain basking in victory after victory, we revel and celebrate in Christ. When we are in the lowest of lows, of our own doing or from the actions of others – in the bottom of the deepest, darkest valley, Christ is with us, close to us, alive in us.
If we are captive – literally caged or constricted by affliction, we are free, by Christ alive in us, who is our Freedom. If we are blind, then it is Christ alive in us who gives us sight. While we are oppressed, we are stable, and we have hope, for the liberty we have may not be in the present, or in the physical, but it is found in our Savior, Jesus Christ, who is alive in us. When we give, we give with Christ.
So while we may give our brothers and sisters temporary financial reprieve, we are also demonstrating the freedom we have, knowing that in every circumstance, our God is good. Christ alive in us, and our life in Christ entails that He is our partner in all the time, energy and resources we give up, for the betterment of others. When we give, Christ gives.
We could only hope that God’s goodness leads to our beneficiaries’ repentance. But, then again, we can’t place a limit to what Jesus Christ can do for a soul He lives so deeply.
The poor, indeed, all of us need provision. Thank God for Christ, who is our infinite provision.