Tuesday, May 26, 2009

greatest in the kingdom of heaven...

"God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important" -1 Corinthians 1:27-28.
The humblest child is the greatest--that little girl in a torn and dirty party dress singing of her joy in God on a trash heap--she's the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Those people our world tells us are nothing are great in God's reckoning. And they are the ones who can teach me.

It's not that God loves the poor any more than he loves me or anyone else in America--he's not a reverse social snob. He loves the wealthy deeply, as I can see in his interactions with the rich young man in Mark 10, the same man who prompted Jesus to say,
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" -Mark 10:25.
Despite this,
"Jesus looked at [the rich young man] and loved him" -Mark 10:21.

I know Jesus looks at me--with all my struggles--and loves me. In his compassion he sees what is lacking in my faith and wants to heal my soul. He knows I need the humility and faith of the poor that I can so easily lose in my material abundance. I need to take spiritual lessons from the poor, learning their rich, childlike faith.

Downward mobility--becoming like and loving the poor--was at the heart of Christ's ministry:
"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!" -Philippians 2:6-8.
This is the attitude God asks of me--to live not for my own advancement, but for the good of others. When I become like the poor and like a child, God calls me blessed. I will have finally poked my head out of the smog of this world's backward values and peeked into his kingdom.
[taken from "Hope Lives" by Amber Van Schooneveld]

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