Unparallel Need; Unprecedented Opportunity

“You will always have the poor with you …” Matthew 26:11

Jesus said there would always be poor people; he failed to mention that their numbers would skyrocket.

“I haven’t seen anything of this scale before,” says Noah Gottschalk, senior policy adviser for humanitarian response at Oxfam America. In June the UN announced the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and people displaced within the borders of their own country has exceeded 50 million – the highest since WW II.

“The complexity and scope of these problems are unparalleled,” said Craig Redmond, senior vice president of programs at Mercy Corps.

Ethnic and sectarian conflict and violence put aid workers in dangerous situations. The needs of displaced persons run the gamut placing unprecedented strains on resources and staffing.

When the woman anointed Jesus with the expensive ointment, was she bestowing a lavish gift on a poor person? So far as we know Jesus had very few possessions. We usually think of him as having been born into circumstances that were at least humble if not downright poor. By his own admission he has “nowhere to lay his head“. And what of the woman herself – how did she come by such an expensive ointment if she herself were not a person of means?

Jesus and the woman are criticized for using this expensive ointment as they did; his disciples were angry that the ointment hadn’t been sold at market value and the money distributed to the poor … But wasn’t Jesus poor?

How many people are you friends with who are poor? What do you have that might be a blessing to them? And perhaps we need to pray that we would never tire of their presence among us. To grow weary of them might be to grow weary of Jesus himself.

A blessed Tuesday …


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Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.