Friday, June 30, 2017

Psalms 41:1-2 -- On Considering the Poor

"Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.
The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies."
Psalms 41:1-2

Another good reminder that God blesses us as we bless others.  When we work to make the world a better place and love other people, we are doing his work and building Zion... and that's the whole point, right?  To keep the good increasing so that God clear away the bad, like in the allegory of the olive trees.

Sometimes it seems like a chore to go out of our way for others.  It's time and effort and money and so many other things that we could be using for things that we might need just as much, or that perhaps we would appreciate more, or use more wisely.  And I guess that those things could be true sometimes... maybe if we tracked that good deed, it would come to nothing in the end.  But, as with all of God's commandments, the point isn't necessarily the obvious one, which might be to make someone less poor.  There are many points, and one of them is to teach *us* some generosity and compassion without expectation of return.  Exactly as God is generous and compassionate to us.

God has told us that inasmuch as we do things (or don't do them) to other people, we have effectively done those things (or not done those things) to God.  That's a pretty dramatic statement, and considering the atonement that Christ suffered, perhaps a very literal one.  God has felt the pains and the suffering of his people, including us, but also including those that we harm in any way.  If we help instead of harm, God takes that personally as well.  Reducing the suffering in the world, and improving our own behavior in the process... that's a win-win-win, for us, the person we help, and for God, who loves both of us and wants to see us all succeed.

Today, let's consider the poor.  Let's help wherever we can, and build each other up with love and hope and kindness.

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