“Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse” (Proverbs 28:6). A few years ago, I read The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns, a successful CEO who had his life changed by Jesus through an encounter with the poorest of the poor. He began to study the Scriptures and found that it overwhelmingly mandated that God’s people keep their hands open to the poor among them.
In the readings from today, we find that God’s heart is inclined toward those who are oppressed and in need. James 5:1-6 speaks condemnation against the rich who are taking advantage of the poor workers among them. Scripture consistently calls the unrighteous wealthy to weep over their sin, repent, and make amends with those they have harmed and oppressed. As in the story of Zacchaeus and Jesus, a person who has been changed by God will demonstrate that they are a person of God by their actions.
As we enter into Thanksgiving, I am reminded of just how rich I am. Rich in family, rich in love, and rich in material possessions. I am grateful and thankful for all that God has given to me. But as I read today’s Scripture, I’m reminded that God has called me to use the very gifts He has given me to bless others, to be a light for His kingdom, and to help others see that Jesus came to proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, and to set the oppressed free.
“What has God given you? Moses had a stick, David had a slingshot, and Paul had a pen. Mother Teresa possessed a love for the poor; Billy Graham, a gift for preaching; and Joni Eareckson Tada, a disability. What did they have in common? A willingness to let God use whatever they had, even when it didn't seem very useful. If you will assess what you have to offer in terms of your time, your treasure, and your talents, you will have a better understanding of how you might uniquely serve.” (Richard Stearns, The Hole in our Gospel) This Thanksgiving, I am taking moments to remember and be thankful for how God has blessed me and to see more clearly how He wants to use what I have been given for the kingdom of God.