Tag Archive: needy

and on to psalm 14:

‘The fool says in his heart, “There is no God!” [vs.1]

as Mr T’s B.A. Baracus from the A-Team would say, “I pity the fool!”

and that’s an apt combination of thoughts. and ‘pity’ has such strongly negative connotations where what i feel when i look at friends lives who do not know God and are going through stuff and trying to carry it all by themselves is totally a positive reaction of sadness and wishing-they-get-it’ness. even just the added effect of community when you are involved in a church or Christ-following community that understands a bit of what following Jesus is all about. to have to try and live life without that must be such a tightrope walk at times.

then the second part that this psalm gave to me was this:

‘You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge.’ [vs. 6]

two sides to that – the scary question of whether ‘you evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor’ ever relates to me? does the way i live contribute to the plans of the poor being frustrated? and a bigger picture question of does the municipality or government where i live ever frustrate the plans of the poor and if so do i ever do anything about that? it’s been great being connected to the simple way where they have actively got involved where municipalities have created some really unfair to the poor and homeless rulings and even had a bunch of them changed [in partnership with other people] it is sometimes a lot easier to simply give a man a fish, or if we’re feeling generous even teach him to fish… but at some stage you have to ask the bigger question of who is polluting the pond and do we intend to do anything about that?

and the second part is comforting and speaks into the situation, that even when i [and my fellow man] are too lazy or confused or apathetic or too busy fighting about the how of it, that ‘the Lord is their refuge.’ God is on it. This shouldn’t mean that i mustn’t be. But it is still a comforting voice in the chaos of life. The poor and needy, the helpless and homeless, the naked and imprisoned and marginalised all have a place to go. and that place is a Person who Loves them very much.

it is fascinating to see what gets christians all passionate and excited (in a pitchfork and flaming torches mob kind of way) – i remember the whole furore around the Christmas to X-mas campaign with stickers and articles and sermons declaring ‘put the Christ back into X-mas’ [it is only mildly funny that those people would campaign so strongly about that and yet for the most part be completely sucked into the capitalistic greed-focus of the event enjoying lavish feasts and piles of un-needed gifts while people just down the road from them lived in a box and had maybe a crust of bread to ‘enjoy’ on the day]

i get it, i really do, and clearly a world that is not Jesus-following will do everything it can to suck the meaningful spiritual significance out of an event that holds no meaningful spiritual significance for them, but i would suggest it is not the Christ in Christmas that needs saving [cue angry mob] but rather the cross [angry mob mutter to themselves and slowly disperse]

because without easter, Christmas actually doesn’t mean a whole lot – a baby is born, God comes to live with us – cool and everything… but it only becomes meaningful when you watch how the story plays out in its completeness and you see the end (and the beginning) take place on the cross when Jesus is crucified – in my place for my sin taking on the punishment of death that should rightfully, legally, be mine [and of course, yours]

for God so loved the world…

and so it’s really important that we view Christmas through the lens of Easter – God could have made some other plan of redemption but He chose to come Himself – that is mindblowing and worth celebrating and sharing with the world

in a time of wide scale greed and what will be (if you include new years) drunkenness and debauchery and it’s-all-about-me’ness, it is important to realise that Jesus came with a message of love – not the hollywood feel good, have-own-needs-satisfied love – but a love that requires choice, as well as sacrifice and surrender, that uplifts others above yourself, that seeks to always hope and protect and persevere, that wipes the slate clean of previous wrongs, that looks to bring hope to the hopeless and need to the needy (oh wait, no, they already have that) um, i mean to meet the needs of the needy.

when you keep the cross in Christmas, then it truly becomes true and observable that love never fails. it makes mistakes, it gets it wrong (and horribly wrong sometimes), and it even hurts people unintentionally when doing so, but it never ever fails.

let your Christmas be about love.

hey readers of this

someone forwarded me an email not telling me the nigerian governtment or bill gates are about to send me a lot of money so i thort i’d pay attention – there is this site that puts together presents for needy kids in the form of santa shoeboxes – they have a target of 31552 kids this year and are currently over the 29000 mark and so really just need a few people to push them over – check out the site – get involved if you will – one piece of meat less on your Christmas dinner table might mean a changed life or moment for someone else

visit the site

The project started in Cape Town in 2006 spearheaded by the founder of Kidz2Kidz, Dee Boehner. In 2007 Irene’ Pieters was appointed national co-ordinator and in 2008 the Santa Shoebox Project joined forces with a similar organization from Somerset West.

Since then, the project has grown in leaps and bounds and the numbers have grown from 180 Santa Shoeboxes in 2006, to 2000 boxes in 2007, 8000 in 2008 to 16000 in 2009, exceeding the target by 30% – 50% year on year. In 2009 the Santa Shoebox Project reached into all corners of South Africa and in 2010 also into Namibia and Botswana. Each country supporting their own children.

The management is run entirely by volunteers. Kind hearted people who give their time, effort and expertise without being remunerated for it. Satellite projects have sprung up not only in the big cities but include many small country towns as well. All run by volunteers taking the responsibility of acting as co-ordinators for their areas.

let’s face it – Christians are not among the most loved and respected people when it comes to those outside of the church and i have often wondered why this is and so i started thinking about some of the core basics of this religion and suddenly it makes a lot of sense. when you look at what Christians intrinsically fundamentally believe (i’m not talking how some of them act or those who claim to be Christians but are living contrary to what being a Christian is meant to be but those who are actively living out what the bible teaches) then it becomes pretty obvious why we are despised and hated and regarded with suspicion

so let me take a couple of notes – purely by looking at the basics of what Christianity is about or meant to be about – to show why it is valid to hate Christianity…

part III – we look after those in need

i know – pretty horrific belief to have – if i say i am a Christian and am actually living out what that means, i have to look after people who are hungry, thirsty, sick, naked, and in prison.

here is Jesus telling the story: ‘When the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.

Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.”

Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed you, or thirst and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?”

The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.”

Then He will say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after Me.”

They will also answer, “Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help You?”

He will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.”

Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.’

[Matthew 25.31-46]

And so Christians are meant to be people who feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty. We are meant to be people who welcome strangers and clothe the naked. And people who visit the sick and those in prison. No wonder they hate us…

for a different other ‘reason to hate Christianity’, click here.

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