Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How Much Does One Need?

 

Ezekial 16:49...Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
 
My understanding of this verse is that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because the people were proud, well fed, had little to keep their hands busy and the poor were neglected.  When these two prosperous cities became overtaken by sexual sin which included but was not limited to homosexuality, the camel's back was broken, so to speak, and God reached His limit of tolerance and wiped the people, the cities and anything within them off the map never to be inhabited again. 
 
I ask myself sometimes if this is not where we are currently as a nation.  I have never seen greater pride than that of an American.  35% of the population is obese according to the CDC.  According to CNN.com, one-half of the world's richest people live in the USA.  We have more gadgets than I can think of that enable us to have more free time than ever.   And the poor are getting poorer and poorer. 

 
 


The video states that there are 3 billion people making less than $2 per day in the world.  The web site for the Social Security Administration states that in 2011 the average national wage in the US was $42,979.61.

According to Unicef, there are 783 million people in the world without access to clean drinking water.  2.5 billion people live without proper sanitation.  Yet, statistics says that people in the U.S. use an average 70 gallons of water per day.

Our pastor preached a sermon on Sunday about poverty.  He asserted that there are three types of poverty:

1.  Generational poverty - which is poverty resulting from sins of our forefathers;
2.  Situational poverty - which is circumstances beyond our control; and
3.  The poverty of wealth - which is complacency and self-focus on the part of the wealthy to the
      extent that one fails to see the needs of others.

There was no New Testament which Jesus walked the earth.  In the Old Testament, Jesus is the gospel concealed.  In the New Testament, He is the gospel revealed.  So, one Sunday, Jesus goes to the temple and stands up and says:

1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;2to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion-- to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.4They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. 5Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers; 6but you shall be called the priests of the LORD; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God; you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory you shall boast. 7Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. 8For I the LORD love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the LORD has blessed. 10I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.

Imagine, friends, what it would have been like to have been in the temple that morning.  A good jew knew the scriptures; they had to memorize them and repeat them so they could be passed on.  Imagine that you are poor, very poor, only able to put two mites in the offering plate and it was all you had!   You whole life you had heard the scripture that one day; some day in the future, God would send the One who would make your life bearable, set you free; even up the score of life, and then you see a man stand up and you hear these words being spoken.  Can you imagine the chills that must have run up and down the arms of many in the temple that day?  I get chills just thinking about it!  What a way to tell people:  "Here I AM.  Your messiah has arrived!

If He held Sodom and Gomorrah responsible, don't you think WE will be held responsible too?  God is unchanging.  He is the same YESTERDAY, TODAY and TOMORROW, and to those who have been given much, MUCH will be required. 

Jesus' mission was for all people, but ESPECIALLY for the POOR! Friends, the Lord is expecting no less of us than to take care of the poor and hurting, and there are so many. One only has to look so far as out your car window at any stop light, and there are so many ways to help.   Check out World Vision (worldvision.org), Compassion International  (www.compassion.com), Please Pass the Bread (www.davidwilkerson.com) and Amazina Ministries (http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/).

Let's do everything WE can to ensure that the Lord DOES find faith on earth when He returns...AND HE IS RETURNING, SOON!  Keep looking up.