i've noticed a weird trend among many of my peers in ministry: loving the poor.
that's good. there are over 2000 verses in the bible about our responsibility to the poor, and if we're serious about loving jesus then we must become increasingly committed to the outcast, the disenfranchised, and the indigent in our communities.
but the "weird" part of this trend is that, for many dudes out there, it has become "cool" to love the poor.
"cool" should never be our motivation for love.
in this case, cool is dumb.
specifically, i think it's fraudulent to love the poor when our love is motivated not by obedience but by a developing trend among young, hip, chic pastors with clever book-titles.
again, don't get me wrong - loving the poor and serving the poor is supremely important - but i can't shake the feeling that loving and serving the poor in these cases is really more about loving and serving ourselves and our image in the perception of others.
let me explain...
i have two good friends who minister together (sorry, dudes, if you recognize yourselves in this accounting, but this is nothing different than what i've challenged you about privately) who 'love the poor' but who consistently mock people who shop at Walmart, have inflatables in their yard, or who wear clothes purchased second-hand.
that's weird. how can we claim to love the poor but disdain the working poor? how can we glorify ministry to the indigent, but disregard the plight of the working man, the blue-collar larborer, the single-mom living on social assistance, or the burned-out football coach?
how poor do people have to be before it becomes cool to love them?
here's a solution: love everybody.
love those who are like you
love those who are not like you
love those who shop at places you would never shop
who buy things you would never buy
love those who worship in ways that make you cringe
love those who worship something you think is evil
love those whose sexual mores and preferences are contradictory to your own
the hard rock cafe said it best: love all, serve all
but jesus said it first: love your neighbor as yourself
this is hard, however, because it requires us to acknowledge that some of the people who don't like we actually don't love...and once we acknowledge that there are people we don't (or even can't) love, we're confronted with our own Phariseeism.
well, get over it.
don't love someone because it's hip
don't love someone because they're poor
just love people
ask god to help you love them more
practice showing love, even when you think it's hard
that's the way of jesus
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