Walking In His Shoes Part 3: Humbly Serving The Poor
On Sunday 10th July at our morning service, we continued our series Walking In His Shoes with the topic 'Humbly Serving The Poor'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
To listen to the talk on-line, please click here.
To download the talk to listen to off line, please click here.
We started our service with a Youtube clip from Scrooged. You can wat this by clicking here.
We all know what a manifesto is. We usually associate it with a political party laying down their agenda. We judge them by how well they did. But it is not just politicians who lay out their manifestos.
In the early stages of his ministry Jesus set out his agenda. We find this in the 4th chapter of Luke’s biography of Jesus and you can read this by clicking here.
He uses this text written over 600 years before his birth to tell people who he was and what he was sent to do. It speaks of the coming messiah who was to herald a time of peace and favour with God.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me”
Jesus talks of being anointed with the Holy Spirit by the Lord God himself. He was called, anointed and sent by God.
The prophesy then says what God has sent him to do.
“…to proclaim good news to the poor.”
He had come to speak of the good news of God to the poor.
He hadn’t come for the religious, those who were smug or self-satisfied.
He came to humbly serve the poor.
That is exactly what he did. He preached to the ordinary people and spent time with those on the margins of society, outcasts and dispossessed.
He fed the hungry and healed the sick. Because actions speak louder than words
“He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
Jesus came to serve the poor financially but also the poor in spirit.
Jesus freed people from lifestyles that kept them captive.
He freed people by healing them and releasing them from a life of social exclusion returning them to their communities.
He released those oppressed by destructive habits and mind-sets and spoke out against the oppression of the poor by the rich and by the religious people of the day, using religion to line their own pockets or pursue their own agendas.
He literally enabled the blind to see but also enabled people see spiritual realities, and moral truths. He enabled people to see that God loved them and forgave them. This was and is something that many are blind to today.
In doing all of this Jesus life demonstrated the love of God for all.
Actions speak louder than words and allow our words to be heard. But our actions are driven by our attitudes.
Jesus life proclaimed the favour of God on all of the people.
He was God in human form, coming not to judge but to show that this was a time of God’s favour.
To follow in Jesus footsteps means that we do what he did.
It means that we need to serve the poor.
As a church we try to do this through our Storehouse ministry, involvement with Sierra Leone or the night shelter for the homeless to name but a few examples.
Following in Jesus’ footsteps also means standing up against injustice where ever it exists at home, work or the wider world.
It means demonstrating in word and deed the love of God and proclaiming the good news of Jesus. This was Jesus’ manifesto and should be ours too.
How are we doing?
Number one on the manifesto was “preach good news to the poor”.
What our attitudes to the poor?
If we are honest not too good.
Who are the poor today? Those in the developing world, those on minimum wage, those on benefits, refugees, economic migrants, people in debt, homeless. Maybe the poor in Spirit are those without hope, those with mental illness or addictions.
Much easier to judge than to serve.
Often our attitudes are shaped more by newspapers and the media than by the Bible and the teaching and example of Jesus.
Do we allow Jesus or Rupert Murdoch to shape our attitudes?
It is not easy for us and was not for Jesus.
He was threatened many times and he was executed for what he said and did. So how did he keep going?
The passage began
“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit…”
He began his manifesto with the words
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me’
The Holy Spirit of God; filled, equipped and empowered him to live out the manifesto. This Holy Spirit is available to each of his followers.
To follow in Jesus footsteps we need that same power for living and conviction that we are called and sent by God to be good news to the poor.
His manifesto is ours.
Questions and Reflections (to think about on your own or to discuss in your small group)
1. If you were the son of God come to save the world what do you think your manifesto would look like?
Compare that to Jesus manifesto?
2. Describes some of the ways that you are aware of that he lives his manifesto out and the impact it made.
3. What do you think was Jesus attitude to the poor?
4. Make an extensive list of who, for you, are the poor?
5. Throughout history the poor have been categorised as either the deserving poor or the underserving poor. Look at your list and divide them up into these categories. Then explain why you see them this way.
6. Where do you get your attitude to the poor from? What are the main influences for you?
CHALLENGE… read Luke 4 verse 18- 19 at least once a week until it is ingrained into your being so that you have that same conviction that you have been anointed by God empowered by him and sent by him to be good news to the poor.
7. What difference do you think that it would make to your life and your community, family and the world if you lived out Jesus manifesto?