Serve the poor and needy. I have not met anyone that has any real objections to that statement. But have you ever asked why? Why is it exactly that we are called to serve the poor and needy?
In the book of Deuteronomy we find an intriguing chapter where God is laying out stipulations for how to treat the poor. It reads, “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard hearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs…There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and towards the poor and needy in your land” (Deut. 15: 7-8;11).
This passage is intriguing because it somewhat begs the question…what’s the point? We live in a culture that promotes philanthropic acts for the purposes of eradicating poverty. But God says clearly here that even amidst radical generosity…poverty will still persist. So what’s the point? Why the exhortation to be generous with those in need? Tim Keller insightfully notes, “Israel was charged to create a culture of social justice for the poor and vulnerable because it was the way the nation could reveal God’s glory and character to the world.”
As we see in the entirety of the Bible, God’s concern is primarily with His glory. For Israel, aiding the poor and needy was one of the most tangible ways to put on display that glory. What about Greensboro? Certainly we see the need around us as refugees flock to our city every week…as the poverty levels continue a steady incline…and the list goes on. We, as a church, have a responsibility to put on display the character and glory of our God. Not to earn His love, but as a demonstration of His love.
This is a responsibility we take very seriously as a church. And we work hard to create opportunities to fulfill this gospel response in as many different pockets of our city as possible. One of those ways is an event coming up on Saturday, July 26th that we’re calling Serve Saturday. As a church, we are going to blitz our city and spend the entirety of the day plugging into various community ministries and meeting needs around the Triad. Mark your calendars and come join us as we put on display the God we serve.
College students – we want you to be a part of this as well – so we’re asking you to take the weekend and come back to Greensboro. Housing will be provided for you guys Friday and Saturday night. And we’ll even feed you. What better way to wrap up your summer than to serve our city? Visit our college page for more details and to sign up.
 Tim Keller, Generous Justice.