Remember the Poor
Dear brothers and sisters,
Greetings to you in the name of Our Lord and Our Savior, Jesus Christ!
Christianity has always taken seriously the problem of poverty. Jesus made himself friends of the poor and the destitute. One of his disciples, to justify his greed and his irreverence to Jesus, claimed that money used to buy the expensive perfume could have been used to feed the poor. The early Church found the solution to poverty, because the members of the Way [The Christian faith] shared what they had with their brothers and sisters. When Paul was taking the gospel to the Gentile world, one thing the early apostles remind him to do was “to remember the poor.” Paul shrugged his shoulders as if this was a given and added, “The very thing I was eager to do.”
Christianity is so tied to the issue of finding a solution to poverty that some people make it the extent of their Christianity. Various streams of Christianity are based on good works. While the later groups are wrong in their theological understanding of the issue, it is still a fact that true Christianity includes taking care of the needy, the poor, the orphans, the widows and the destitute.
First Christian Church of Mount Vernon helped us to care for the needy in a special way again this past Summer. Each day we fed 500 campers, not counting teachers and other helpers. What was more important, these women and men were instilling values in the people. These values are showing them the way out of poverty (spiritual, intellectual and economical). We awarded many of them with a certificate recognizing their contribution to the effort of getting these young souls out of poverty.
One amazing verse in Acts is Acts 4:34. It reads as follow: “There were no needy person [no indigent, no destitute] among them. The word used for “Needy person” in French, “Indigent” has the connotation that one is not only poor, but does not even have family members or close friends one could count on. That is truly destitute. But that state is not possible in true Christianity. We have sisters and brothers in all the corners of the world. We may speak a funny language, wear weird clothes, eat questionable food to some, yet we are family. That is why when we meet for corporate worship we can praise Our heavenly Daddy with our inner beings. Because we are one.
As I am writing it is raining. I am thinking about the farm. I am thinking about the okra, the peanuts, the milo, other vegetables and plants we have on the farm. We are involved in farming because we want to find a lasting solution to the problem of poverty, as least for a few. It’s one way to remember the poor.
The last two years God has kept the poverty highlighted under my eyes practically daily. Around here we cannot drive, ride or walk and not recognize what poverty really is. It shows on the face of the babies and is painted on the face of the adults. You just cannot miss it. Yet, they are loving people. In spite of the way that life has treated them for generations, they still have hope.
We want to remember the poor. We are starting another church and school at a location called Highland. Right now we are building a connection for them, a bridge. We hope to start building a school and a church building very soon. In the meantime, please help me to alleviate their hunger by providing some rice and beans for them. Hurricane Matthew did not kill any of them. But, as one old man said, “He might as well,” because they had basically nothing and Matthew left them with less. Sisters, brothers, friends let us remember the poor by working together to change their future now.
Salonique and team