Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Poor and Vulnerable

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.

And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Matthew 19:13-22

My eldest daughter works for an organization that houses, feeds and clothes many people throughout the year, along with providing job training and mentoring. On Thanksgiving, lots of folks want to come and volunteer to serve the big meal. Other times of year it is a real challenge to find volunteers for the tasks to be done. And they still struggle to get enough financial donations to purchase the turkeys and trimming to feed the crowd. Folks want to feel good for a few moments in time but they rarely want to dig a little deeper and truly give of themselves.

Jesus reaches out to the poor and the vulnerable. He overrides his disciples and blesses all the children, saying that they are the kingdom of heaven. And when a well meaning young man comes to him, he suggests that the young man sell his possessions and give to the poor. In that giving he will find the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is found with the poor and the vulnerable, not in our gilded cages, our safe houses or our comfortable life styles. Seeking God means seeking out the poor and the vulnerable and making a home for them.

Today I ask God to help me find the kingdom of God in the midst of the poor and the vulnerable. May we be ready to sell what we have so others may live, and may we not hinder the little ones from God's blessings. May we be agents of real change in our neighborhoods and communities, so that all might see the in-breaking of the reign of God.

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