The mission of BBNF is to serve the needy and as such, I have written much on the topic before. I recently came across a sermon by Tim Keller that to me is spot on regarding this charge. In this post, I will attempt to summarize Keller’s sermon, but I encourage you to listen to it for yourself (link below).
Keller cites Jonathan Edwards in saying that there is no clearer command in the Bible than to serve the poor – this is not an option; indeed it is talked about in over two hundred passages in the Old Testament. To understand the poor, we must first understand that due to their circumstances, the poor end up with nothing that the world values; no skills, property, influence, etc. As a result, they have no neighbors – they are thrown away by the world. Of the many Bible passages referencing the poor, the overwhelming majority conclude that any irresponsible behavior by the poor is the result of their poverty, not the cause of it. We therefore must respond to their condition with mercy; the Bible commands that we “Give until his need is gone” (Deuteronomy 15:7, 8).
Most impactful for me is the biblical assertion that we must become poor in spirit. This is not about our economic condition, rather, it’s about the condition of our spirit. Keller notes that the Gospel only comes to those who confess they have nothing of value save for the power and grace of Jesus Christ. Religion says “be good”, the Gospel says, “nobody is good – our only hope is in the King who became a poor man for us. We must come to Him with nothing and in a posture of owing Him everything. When we give up our worldly spirit, we realize that we are exactly like the poor.
Thanks for reading. Please listen to the sermon and comment below.