There's a lot of stuff that's been going through my mind lately, and I'm not exactly sure what to write about tonight, but before I forget, I'd like to ask you to do something for me. Would you guys pray? I'm not asking for you to pray for me (right now). I want you to pray for my friend Adam. He's been in the hospital with mono. He's out of the hospital now, but he's still recovering, and if you could pray for him that would be awesome. Adam is one of the coolest people I know. If he reads this, he's proably going to be embarassed, so I'll go to something else now.
Since right now I'm at a loss as to what to write, I'm going to insert my dad's sermon from this morning. I hope you enjoy.
In Christ,Trinity 4 MP Psalms 22:23&67; Genesis 12:1-9; Galatians 3:1-9
Praise the Lord, ye that fear Him; magnify Him all ye seed of Jacob, and fear Him, all ye seed of Israel. For He hath not despised nor abhorred the low estate of the poor; He hath not hid his face from him; but when he called unto Him, He heard him. –Ps 22:23,24
I would like to tell you today that these verses are for us. We are offering our praises today to a God who hears the prayers of the poor. I would probably be unpopular in the world today if I shouted out loud that it would be worth being poor if it meant God would listen to us. But it would be true.
Does it mean that God only listens to the poor, those who lack worldly success, power, and respect? No, not at all. But what does it mean that God hath not hid his face from him?
What is the most common way we recognize one-another? We can recognize a voice, a scent; Isaac sought to recognize his son by the feel of his hairy skin. Maybe cannibals recognize people by their flavor. Did you hear about the cannibals who ate a comedian? They said he tasted funny. All our senses help us to recognize someone, but the most commonly used is our sight, in recognizing their face. As we get to know people through spending time with them, we learn about them not only through their words, but we watch their faces to see indications of how they truly feel.
So this psalm really tells us of an intimacy with God available to the poor which may not be available to the successful. I’m not saying that God won’t be intimate with those who are not poor, but there may be a certain relationship God wants to develop with the downtrodden, the failures of this world. It reminds me of a lady I know who loves animals. Her house has always been full of animals as long as I can remember; dogs, cats, injured rabbits, etc., often injured or unwanted by others, finding refuge in this lady’s home. She jokes about her animals, calling them “Lynn’s lucky losers.” Well, I have to admit that I think these “losers” find more love and acceptance than many purebreds in affluent homes. To me, this is a picture of the relationship God has in mind for the poor, the losers of this world. To Him, our reliance and need is sweet music.
If you look at the life of Jesus, you will find he has an affinity for the outcast, the poor, and those who do not have much to crow about in terms of worldly things. It is no chance occurrence that the first person to be aware of the resurrection was once a prostitute with mental problems. Jesus has a big heart for those who need Him.
So on the outside some of the riches of this world may have quite an allure. But that allure, and nursing our desire for them as an end in themselves can easily draw our hearts away from God. If we realize this, it may be easier to, as Paul puts it, “Give thanks in all things.” Can we give thanks for a hard life here? Can we give thanks for a special chance to know God more closely? Can we see the true riches, the everlasting riches? Can we be thankful for the taking away of worldly distractions? I say that anything which brings us closer to God is cause for rejoicing!
Look at Abram. We get a short part of his story today. Did you know that he was a rich man, successful in Ur? He was well established there, when one day God said to him, “Leave this. Leave here and go someplace you have never been. I have other plans for you.” So Abram locked up the shop and jumped in the Winnebago and left it all behind. Now Abraham is known as the “Father of Faith.” One of the things that made his act such an act of faith was that he had the choice. He could choose stability and success where he was or what appeared to be taking a chance by listening to God. For many, this choice is too much of a temptation. They make the wrong one and put their hearts into worldly things.
In this way, poverty can be a tremendous gift. If we don’t have the option of worldly success, we can remain dependent upon God, and close to Him, that much easier. So the lacks we think we have here may not really be lacks at all, but blessings eternal in nature, providing us heavenly rewards which far outshine the greatest treasure that can be piled up here.
Paul urges us to examine our choices; to look on how we view things. Do we want to go the path of the flesh or of the Spirit? Do we want to be secure in the world, or secure in the arms of God?
Only when we have a proper attitude of praise for God, for the Father who loves and seeks us, only then will the earth bring forth her increase. All the universe exists to bring us into a closer union with God. Let us rejoice in every thin that does, whether the world values it or not. The greatest treasure is given to us inside. Let us get to know and love our Lord better every day.
Glory and praise be to God!