Friday, October 25, 2013

Who Are The Poor?

Then I, the King, shall say to those at my right, 'Come, blessed of my Father, into the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.  For I was hungry and you fed me.  Unless, of course, you were on food stamps you didn't deserve.  Or you used your food stamps for junk food, or expensive food, or any food other than lentils and rice.  Why don't you get a job? Ok, then, why don't you get a better job? 

 I was thirsty and you gave me water; but not Mountain Dew.  I see you drinking a Mountain Dew, you're totally out of the Kingdom.  Or getting a tattoo--where'd you get the money for that?  Cigarettes!  Spend a dime on cigarettes, you're out.  You're wasting your money, or you once wasted it, back when you had more.  At any rate, you don't see me making mistakes like that, do you? 

 I was a stranger and you invited me into your homes; Not dressed like that, I won't.  Not with the poor personal hygiene, the air of desperation.  Don't you understand?  It's your own fault you were born without resources, without expectations.  Abuse, trauma, mental illness--blah, blah, blah.  What do you want from me?  Hope?  Equality in the eyes of God? 

naked and you clothed me; In cast-offs.  Be grateful.  

sick and in prison, and you visited me.'  Here's the thing.  If I did that, if I visited you, I'd have to spend time with you.  I'd have to see you as, you know, a person.  You wouldn't be an abstract anymore, "the poor."  I'd have a harder time dividing you into groups, the "deserving poor," the "undeserving poor," the "lazy bastards who won't get off their butts."  If I got to know you, if I knew your name, I'd start to see your brokenness, and how it mirrors my own.  I'd see that the difference between us is more a matter of safety nets--mine is bigger--and I'd understand that when we stand before God, side-by-side, I'll be the one with some accounting to do:

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

And that starts to sound frightening.  It's so much easier to deem myself independent of God's grace.