Two thousand years ago, Jesus said that the poor will always be with us but we wouldn’t always have Him.  He was right.

Rich people get richer and poor people increase.  The Huffington Post reports;

 The rich keep getting richer, and by next year, just a handful of the upper-class will have accumulated more than half of the world’s wealth.

A new report released on Monday by Oxfam warns that this deepening global inequality is unlike anything seen in recent years.

Using research from Credit Suisse and Forbes’ annual billionaires list, the anti-poverty charity was able to determine that the richest 1 percent of the world’s population currently controls 48 percent of the world’s total wealth.

If trends continue, Oxfam predicts that the most-affluent will possess more wealth than the remaining 99 percent by 2016, The New York Times reported.

 Richest 1 Percent To Own More Than Half Of The World’s Wealth By 2016, The Huffington Post, by Jade Walker, Posted: 01/19/2015

Why?  The world we live in is incompatible with Jesus and His kingdom.  More often than not a  good deed or outreach to the poor is tainted by baser motives of selfishness.  When you’ve got a lot it so easy to feel really good when you give a little to charity.  We even get tax receipts!

The opening of John 12 describes the scene where Jesus is having supper with close friends and disciples  Mary, the sister of His host lavished some expensive perfume on Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair.  One of His disciples complained; “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.”  (v. 5) This sounds like a good question. It certainly makes the disciple look good at first glance.  Scripture goes on to reveal the deeper more selfish motive behind the disciples outrage at the ‘waste’; “He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.”  (v. 6)  Jesus stepped in to defend the woman by revealing her motive; “Leave her alone, . . . It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.  You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” (v. 7,8)

 As this was happening this passage describes the storm clouds gathering against Jesus; “. . . a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.  So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.”  (v. 9-11)  The world is hostile to Jesus and since the beginning has sought by any means to suppress His message and followers.  Organized religion is more often a willing accomplice if not outright instigator of this persecution.

Here in North America we try to kill Jesus by drowning Him in luxuries and blinding Him with the glare and glitter of plasma TV’s and other consumer goods.  We’re not fooling anybody but ourselves.  Jeff Goins calls it like he sees it in his ‘letter to the affluent church’;

Please stop complaining about the economic difficulties in America. Seriously. It’s beginning to bug me. I’m bothered by the tough employment situation as much as the next person, but I just can’t help but be irked by how you’re coping with this so-called crisis. So, if you don’t mind, please stop your whining.

Please stop thinking that the “blessed are the poor” verse in the Beatitudes now applies to you, because you had to stop going out to eat more than once a week. I would appreciate it if you would stop lamenting how you’re strapped for cash and forced to “cut costs” just after you bought your teenager her very own cell phone with text messaging plan. There are real people who are hurting during this time, and it’s apparently not you. Not while your kids play their hand-held video games in the backseat of the Suburban and you and the Mrs. enjoy worship tunes blasting from the iPod. Not while you drink Starbucks coffee after church and spend your Sundays taking naps in a well-heated home.

Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/reject-apathy/poverty/features/16122-a-letter-to-the-affluent-church#fHMLExzfriwcy0cU.99

What can you do about it?  Get to know your neighbour.  If he or she is in need – help them!  Share what you have, use less and take some time to talk to old people, sick people, people in trouble, and smelly people.  True charity isn’t rocket science it’s love in action.

The Bible tells us what true religion is; “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  (James 1:27)

How the world would change if even those who call themselves Christians would get completely into religion in ‘pure and faultless’ way?

Jesus told us what  is righteous; “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:37-40)

Until His returns the poor will always be with us.

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