photo by: 2nd-year confirmand Maddox Neddo
10They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.
-Galatians 2:10 NRSV
In this text we find Paul and Barnabas, after meeting with other early Christian leaders, given only one directive as they departed and that was to “remember the poor.” These words should be familiar to us as we go out into the world after worship on Sunday mornings and they serve as a reminder of one of our primary ministries in the upcoming week.
But who are the poor? It’s easy to spot them holding signs for donations on street corners or pushing grocery carts down the sidewalks, filled with all their worldly belongings. Maybe it’s the clothes they wear or the condition of their housing. Are the poor only defined as those lacking money to buy worldly things or a bad financial circumstance?
I would suggest that poor could also be defined as people who are experiencing far less than expected of a certain thing or quality. Those with poor health, poor relationships or lacking in other critical areas of their life, struggle to fill a void which is far more important than money. People who have been abandoned by family or friends. People who have lost their jobs. These are the poor that are more difficult to identify outwardly and may need of our care as much or more than those lacking financial resources.
Paul closes this passage by stating that he was eager to carry out the mission of remembering the poor. Let us also eagerly carry on that mission with love and compassion for all who are poor.
Dear God, we thank you for the gifts you have given us to minister to all people, especially the poor. Open our eyes that we might see beyond the obvious signs of poverty and open our hearts that we may truly know and love those whose needs are greater than money. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.