Monday 12th October 2020
Title: Consider The Poor
By: Ps Soong Kok Kee
Psalm 41: 1-3
Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, And he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed. (NKJV)
The Bible often speaks of God’s care and concern for the weak, poor and needy, and of his blessings on those who share his concern. God wants our generosity to reflect his own free giving. As he has blessed us, we should bless others. As he has loved us, we should love others.
We are all pretty familiar with the blessings our Lord spoke of in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5: 1-10). Here is a “blessing“ from the Old Testament that is less well-known: “Blessed is he who considers the poor”. The Hebrew word translated as considers means “to take thought for others.” The word translated as poor means “those in need”.
There are many people around us who are poor and in need – especially in this time of the pandemic. Poor not only financially, but also poor in love, in hope, in faith, in care, in concern, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even though we cannot solve all their problems, we can at least show them that we care to reach out to them in whatever way we can. We may not have lots of money to give, but we can give of ourselves. We can let these needy people know that we are thinking of them. We can listen as they tell their stories. We can treat them with courtesy and respect. We can pray for them. We can visit them. We can write or WhatsApp notes of encouragement to show we care and love them. People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care. We truly need to live out not just the vision of our church but live as a child of God – to be caring and loving.
Someone once asked Mother Theresa, “What’s the biggest problem in the world today?” “ Loneliness ”, she said. Not only in the world but also in the Church. Marion Leach Jacobsen wrote a book entitled “Crowded Pews and Lonely People”. Tertullian, describing Christians of an earlier age, wrote, “Behold, how they love one another!”
“But what of today?” asked Jacobsen. She said many are finding that acceptance and love are often lacking in personal relationships in the church. As friendships fire only their first or second stages and then burn out; as people abandon the church because they feel unwanted; as insecure Christians hide between class distinction or their own personal masks, the cause of Christ in His church is crippled. There is truly a famine of love among Christians in churches all over the world today.
Rick Warren in his best seller “The Purpose Driven Church” affirms Jacobsen’s view and says America is “a nation of strangers”. As a result, they are experiencing an epidemic of loneliness in society. One Gallup poll reported that four in ten Americans admit to frequent feelings of “intense loneliness”. “Americans are in fact, the loneliest people in the world”, he said. Warren says a survey asked 400 church dropouts why they left their churches. Over 75% of the respondents said, “I didn’t feel anyone cared whether I was there or not.” How sad and yet how true. Not only in American churches, again, it’s all over the world. Is there anything you and I can do?
Dear Lord, thank you for reminding us that we don’t live out our lives all by ourselves. There are so many poor, needy and lonely people in the world today and in our churches. Help us to keep a lookout for them. Help us to extend our hand of friendship, care and love to them. As you have loved us, help us to love them the way you love us. As you have blessed us, help us to bless them the way you bless us. In Jesus precious name we pray, AMEN.
诗篇 41: 1-3
我们都非常熟悉主在登山宝训论及的祝福（马太福音5:1-10）。 这是在旧约中鲜为人知的“祝福”：“眷顾贫穷的有福了” 。 这个译作“眷顾”的希伯来语的词 ，意为“为他人着想”；译为“贫穷”的词意思是“有需要的人”。
我们周围有很多贫穷且生活在缺乏中的人，尤其是在这大流感疫情时期。 贫穷不仅在经济上，也在爱、希望、信心、照料、关怀和对主耶稣的认识上。 即使我们不能解决他们所有的问题，至少可以向他们表达，我们愿意尽可能向他们伸出援手的心意。我们可能没有很多钱可以给予，但是我们可以付出自己。 我们可以让这些有需要的人知道我们关心他们。我们可以聆听他们的故事；我们可以礼待他们、尊重他们；我们可以为他们祈祷；我们可以探望他们；我们可以写或通过智能手机WhatsApp发送一些鼓励的话，以表示我们在乎和爱他们。 人们不会在乎我们知道多少，直到他们知道我们有多在乎他们。 我们实在不仅需要活出教会的异象，还需要活得像上帝的孩子-充满关怀和爱心。
曾经有人问特蕾莎修女（Mother Theresa）：“当今世界上最大的问题是什么？” 她说：“ 孤单”。 不仅在世界上，而且在教会中。 玛莉安•利奇•雅各布森（Marion Leach Jacobsen）写了一本书，题为“拥挤的教会长椅和孤独的人”。 特图里亚（Tertullian）在描述初期的基督徒时写道：“看哪，他们多么相亲相爱！”
“但是今天呢？” 雅各布森（Jacobsen）问。 她说，许多人发现教会中的人际关系常常缺乏接纳和爱。 当友谊只点燃他们的第一阶段或第二阶段便熄灭了、当人们觉得自己不受欢迎而离开教会、当缺乏安全感的基督徒常常躲在阶级区分或自己的个人面具之间，基督在祂的教会中的圣工就受到了破坏。 当今世界各地的教会，基督徒确实处于“爱心饥荒”中。
里克•沃伦（Rick Warren）在他的畅销书《标杆教会》中肯定了雅各布森（Jacobsen）的观点，并说美国是“一个陌生人的国家”。 结果，他们正在经历“社会孤独感疫情”。 盖洛普（Gallup）的一项民意调查显示，十分之四的美国人承认经常感到“强烈的孤独感”。 他说：“事实上，美国人是世界上最孤独的人。” 沃伦（Warren）说，一项调查询问了400名流失的基督徒为何离开教会。 超过75％的受访者说：“我不觉得有任何人会在乎我是否到场。” 多么悲伤，却多么真实。 不仅在美国的教会，而是遍及世界各地。 我们能做些什么吗？
亲爱的主，感谢祢提醒我们，我们不是独自过生活。 现今世界和教会里有这么多贫穷、有需要和孤独的人，帮助我们关注他们，向他们伸出友谊、关怀和爱心之手。 正如祢爱我们一样，帮助我们以祢爱我们的方式去爱他们； 正如祢祝福我们一样，帮助我们以祢祝福我们的方式去祝福他们。奉耶稣的宝贵名祷告，阿们。