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Paul, Galatians and the Poor

June 9, 2008

All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. Galatians 2:10

I was preparing for a message on living by the Spirit this past Sunday and I couldn’t help but think about this verse. So matter of fact from Paul isn’t it? In the first part of Galatians he spends time talking about his calling and how it happened and how his theology developed when he discusses his arrival at Jerusalem. He meets with the leaders of the church to discuss his ministry efforts and what does Paul take time to mention? That is right, that they wanted to make sure that I remembered the poor.

What should probably be more interesting is that Paul explains that he was anxious to do just that. The King James says what he was forward to do. The Greek could be defined as to exert one’s self, endeavor or make haste. Sounds pretty important to me.

One of the things missed because of the way we read the New Testament is what is truly important to God. You see the main issue in the New Testament is whether or not Jesus is the Messiah. The Jews doubted and Gentiles were programmed not to believe. That was what people needed to understand.

Why does this matter, because the way people are treated and socially impacted can easily get lost because the New Testament text overwhelming deals with Jesus as Messiah. That is the question at point that needed to be answered. The treatment of the marginalized and poor can not be missed in the New Testament but that is not the hottest topic or at the top of the agenda. Jesus and what he has done was.

Am I making sense?

The treatment of the poor and marginalized are in the pages but that part of being a part of God’s kingdom was already understood. A passage like Galatians 2:10 just reminds us of that fact.

Please don’t think that impacting the world for the poor and marginalized is either contrary to focusing on Jesus or secondary just because it is not the focus of the New Testament. Yes Jesus is the answer but to simply focus on that misses what it means to follow after Jesus once you believe.

In the end it is powerful to see the church wake up to this fact. Helping those in need is not one of many options for a church, it is part and parcel of the story.

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