Preaching The Gospel With A Sanctified Selfishness
Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii* and given to the poor?" This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. But Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always." NKJV
“For the poor you have with you always.” You know, from the death burial, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, all the way through to His glorious return, it seems we can guarantee that the poor will always be with us. It has been over two thousand years of watching wait so far and sure enough, the poor are still with us! If the commission of the church is to move the global population toward an egalitarian world, a financially fair one with no poverty, then we have failed. However, this is not our commission or our mission, though judging by the main efforts of our churches in the early 21st century, you would think it was. Not that we should forget the poor mind you! Oh no. Even though we do neglect and forget the church poor, but that is a different issue. Or is it? Let me come back to this.
Look, as society roller coasts again down into financial recession and depression, as the tent cities grow and the city centres burn, the churches main mission remains the same: Preach the Gospel. However, the church seems to have lost its faith in the Gospel's power and so, money, bent legality and greed have been the gods of our pre-crash world and we have to admit, there are none so powerful as these three. However, now the post-crash world has lifted its chin over the fallen walls of western protection and on its shoulders, guns, gold and greed are the new demi-gods that seem on the rise in a post-crash society. Pre or post, our mission remains the same, ‘Preach the Gospel’. Remember as well that as quaint as the story of some old monk walking through a village and simply saying good morning to people in an affable way might be, or as necessary as giving a meal to a hungry tramp or money to a young girl with her legs shot off, none of these good things is preaching the Gospel. Yes, all are good, all might be loving, but none are preaching the Gospel. Proclamation might be dead in our land, but it is the ONLY WAY for people to hear and believe. Our mission is to proclaim the Gospel to every creature. We have, thus far, failed abysmally in this.
The presence of the poor among our general communities is societies disgrace. It is not the churches. However, the presence of poor Christians in a rich church is the churches shame of face. Now then, here is fuel for the accuser to bring before the throne of God! For when there is known and unmet need among the sons of God, among the church of Jesus Christ then this is a foul disgrace dripping down our face like stinking yellow egg yolk from a broken 'gone-off egg'. “See how they love on another!" Yeah right. How embarrassing.
God’s commands to Israel to take care of the poor and needy was not to forget the alien and the stranger at all, but was, never the less, a family affair of care for one another. Every year of Jubilee and all sacrificial celebrations, even the gleaning of the edge of crops were all a family affair of care. So then, let us in our church, not neglect the external poor at all, but more so, let us focus on the family first of all, for I tell you, there is a need for some sanctified ‘selfishness’ among the church of Jesus Christ. Let us take care of our own first, so we can preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Then, let us take care of our wider societies poor.
The Biblical model is for us to all work hard as Christians, living with simplicity in this world, taking care of the poor Christians among us, and then piling all our vast resources into ‘Preaching the Gospel’. This has been our omission, but it still remains our great commission.
Listen:- How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:14-17 NKJV
Pray: -Father, help us to get this right, in Jesus name we ask it. Amen.