December 28: The Gospel Is? – Good News To The Poor part 1
The Foundation Scripture for this series is Luke 4: 17-20 this is referring to the Prophecy of Isaiah from Isa 61:1-2 and speaks directly about the anointing which would be upon the much anticipated Messiah.
Contextually, this reading in Luke’s Gospel; this series of passages comes after Jesus was baptised in the Jordan by John, immediately anointed with the Holy Spirit who descended upon him as lightly as a dove would descend. Spent 40 days and nights in the desert; was tempted by Satan himself and then he makes his way back to the Synagogue in Nazareth, as was his regular practice, on the sabbath, to be handed this particular prophecy. There are no accidents here; this is the unfolding of the Father’s plan.
We have considered the effect of the Good News to the captives; the good news to those who are in need of Salvation. But, what would the Good News, the Gospel of Peace be for those who are poor?
Matthew chapter 6 is dedicated to what is referred to as “The Sermon on The Mount” but the reference to the “Poor in Spirit” and the comparable reference to the “the Poor” in the prophecy of the Messiah in both Isaiah and Luke’s Gospel are not the same. Yet, “The Establishment” – The Institutional church – has religiously tied these two verses together to make its point regarding what it refers to as “The Piety of Poverty.”
In my travels around this globe I have spent time in fancy Hotels. Been the guest of government officials, performed music for them in those same fancy locations with wonderful sound equipment and alternatively I have performed those same songs, with the same backing musicians, on the same backing tracks, on a tiny portable tape player, in dark shanty huts.
On those occasions, in both locations, I had less in my wallet, than the people I was sharing and ministering to. But, at all times, in that situation, I was very aware of the source of my provision; that God is my source and he can even use the birds of the air to bring food and supplies if humans won’t be obedient to do so.
In both locations I found that the Christians there were not covetous, or withholding in any way. Their generosity was amazing. I learned that what people measure as wealth is relative to where they are. The family I had the privilege of staying with in the town of Gachie, outside of Nairobi, Kenya, owned their home, the land they grew the small crops they maintained, kept chickens and goats.
They only had electricity for part of the day; until the town’s generators were shut down for the night. But, they were happy and in their eyes they were prosperous and willing and able to share what they had. Their generosity had no bounds even to the point of killing the goat for a luncheon when we first came to visit.
That happened without notice and in such a way that I looked around for the little kid that I had seen when we first arrived; only to find out it was on the platter in front of me.
I’ve met people, poor by western standards, who are generous to a fault. and rich people who almost fall over themselves to give. I’ve also found poor who can think of nothing more than holding tight to what little they have and their concentration is centred sole on where can they get what the other person has; to the point of theft.
Likewise I’ve met the rich who would never dream of parting with anything and will step on anyone they have to to gain more wealth; regardless of the consequences to themselves, or the people they have to step on to get there.
My own experiences with a certain ‘multi-level marketing’ company left nothing but a bitter taste in my mouth and a sadness for the perversion of the Gospel (yes, even the bible was misused to justify behaviours) for some dear, but seriously misguided, church people who were simply churned through “The System.”
The Good News for the Poor is simply that: “You Don’t Have To Be Poor Anymore!” Poverty comes in more than one guise though. But, sadly, the moment you mention poverty people’s focus goes directly to money. Similarly, when the word Prosperity is brought up, in ‘religious‘ church circles, the focus goes to wealth and riches. But, the fact is that in the case of Poverty and Prosperity they encompass so much more.
The human existence, on this planet, centres around 5 areas of experience, all at the same time:
Spirit – The Heart, The Core, or I/Me of the Person
Soul – The Mind, The Will and The Emotions
Body – Fondly referred to as Your Earth Suit
Financial – That Neutral ‘Mode of Transfer and Exchange’ required to operate within the society in which we live.
Social – The other human beings we interact with including Family, Friends, Acquaintances, Work Colleagues and Strangers.
If any one of these is out of balance it has an effect on the rest as they interact and impact one another. The Bible concept of Prosperity involves the growth and healthy development and balance of all five of these areas.
Previously, we have looked at the process by which things that make up our physical world, or affect and/or shape the world around us originate at the invisible, the spiritual and eventually psychological level.
Therefore, if we are poor, or lacking, spiritually, we are sure to have that affecting our other experiences. We may have all the money that we could ever dream of. But, if we are spiritually lacking, we may still be unfulfilled.
Prosperity begins with the human spirit born again, spiritually alive to God and fed by the living word of God, not by dead religiosity and ‘tradition.’
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