Now, friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could--far more than they could afford!--pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians.
Mostly, Jesus hung around with poor people. 'He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor' (Luke 4:18). It's how He began and how He ended up. Clearly, He identifies with the humble:
'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me' (Matthew 25:40). But how does the King of kings see Himself in poor people? Because poor people are rich. They are crowned with 'Loving kindness and tender mercies' (Psalm 103:4), like David.
Of startling significance, poor people are also the greatest givers, even in real world dollars and cents.** Why? They understand need and want to help others. They love God so deeply, it just overflows. They believe God's Word, that He will repay them.
They are the simple, the persecuted: men of great sorrow who live in great joy. What a paradox. But this unusual truth is a theme of the Bible. It's repeated hundreds of times in dozens of ways:
'By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life' (Proverbs 22:4); 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven' (Matthew 5:3). Because 'Those who humble themselves will be exalted' (Luke 14:11).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Act it in your lives. Look it in your clothes. Sing it in your songs and dance it on the streets. Play small to live large. Step down to stand up. Give big... receive more.
Because poor people are rich.
To Be Continued...
* 2 Corinthians 8:1-4 (NASB): https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+cor+8%3A1-4&version=NASB
** Poor People Give More (articles & studies): http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_poor_give_more;
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Giving series.