Next month, Diane, Adam, and I are going to Haiti for a week as we “help in Jesus’ Name” with Samaritan’s Purse. I love going places where people are hungry for Jesus. I love going places where ball games, work, and television don’t trump Jesus. I love going places that if you had a free community dinner like we have here in Short Gap, you would run out of food every time. I love going to a place that the Beatitudes would surely mean something.
The Beatitudes, or The Sermon on the Mount, can be found in Matthew, starting in chapter 5. Jesus says those who are poor, humble, and hungry are the blessed ones. And blessed is not a strong enough word in our culture. The words lucky or fortunate capture the sentiment more appropriately. There aren’t too many of us in the church I pastor who are that kind of poor, humble, and hungry or would consider it a blessing to be in that boat. The thing about poor, humble, and hungry is people rarely choose those things. Poor, humble, and hungry almost always chooses you.
In America, we consider people who have money and power the blessed and fortunate. We feel bad for the poor among us and thank God that we are not poor and hungry. (We don’t actually say, “thank you God that I’m not poor and hungry”, but we say, “thank you for our many blessings” which sounds much nobler). Yet, Jesus says it’s not really a blessing to have wealth and comfort. Jesus says He feels bad for the privileged and says it’s very difficult for us! Still, we exalt the privileged. Church boards are made up of, and church decisions are made by, the privileged (including the pastor so I’m not casting stones here). I’m certainly not included in the ranks of the poor, humble, and hungry. If the poor, humble, and hungry were in charge of churches, the decisions made on behalf of the church would be much different.
So while I spend the majority of my time as one of the privileged, wealthy, comfortable who preaches the Gospel to and ministers to the privileged, wealthy, and comfortable, I thank God for the rare opportunities He gives me to go and spend time with and learn from those whom He calls blessed – the poor, humble, and hungry. I can’t wait to go to Haiti to be with those whom I call unlucky and Jesus calls blessed.