Lost Crusader #102 Finding Life
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
I saw a roadside billboard the urged passersby to serve the poor as Jesus did. A wonderful sentiment, but I wonder whether the author really meant what he said. It is not the person’s sincerity I question, but their understanding.
Just how did Jesus serve the poor? According to John, Jesus and his disciples would, on occasion, give money to the poor. The impression that I get from the Gospel is that Jesus’ monetary means were very limited. Gifts of money were not the service Jesus gave to the poor.
He did not give alms to the halt, the blind, and the lame in the sense of a day’s gift on money to buy bread. He healed them so that they could earn a living for themselves. Dependence on anything but God’s provision was not in Jesus’ vocabulary. Yet the land was full of poor people.
His true service to the poor was to teach them that because they loved God, to follow after the things that pleased God even though their Jewish rulers and Roman masters disapproved.
The Roman sanctioned moneychangers inn the Temple made merchandise of the poor, cheating them for profit—Jesus drove them out. Herod sought an audience—Jesus refused. Pilate demanded an explanation of Jesus’s actions—Jesus denied to speak a word in his own defense. The priests discounted his worthiness as a teacher for healing on the Sabbath—Jesus healed on the Sabbath anyway.
Jesus didn’t force conflict with authority, rather he taught, by word and example, to not be subservient to any authority but God’s. That is, to serve God freely from a heart beholding to none other. Worldly authorities, regardless of the high ideals they may begin with, inevitably degenerate into service to the world. They are of the world—and worldly. Jesus served the poor by pointing them to the heavenly authority of God as the true path for life.
Jesus served the poor by giving his life for them. We are to oppose the status quo in serving the poor, giving more than money, losing the comfort of a go-along get-along life, and thereby finding the best life.