(Parable of the Generous Employer [Matthew 20:1-16])
Stand For the Reading of God’s Word
How to Spot a Christian
- “bridle his tongue” (What we say)
- “keep oneself unstained from the world” (What we do)
- “visit orphans and widows in their affliction” (How we care)
The Three Cs of Christian Practice
All Christians are workers.
The Power of God’s Compassion for the Poor
The broader context of the passage shows that the spirit of James’s comments is not just about widows and orphans specifically, but also about people who are helpless in .
- Matthew 25:35-36
- Matthew 25:40
The expression of compassion is a biblical command and not a matter of personal discretion.
This is because God expects us to be extensions of His to those in need.
The resources we claim to be ours actually belong to God.
This does not mean that you have to be the perpetual source of aid for any individual who approaches you with a need.
Addressing people’s ongoing needs is primarily a collective responsibility.
We must be at peace with this reality: Fulfilling God’s command to help the poor means that there will be some people who will rely on the of the church for the rest of their lives. (Mark 14:7)
There are no passages in Scripture stipulating that poor people their lives before receiving help from the church.
The goal of helping the poor is not to eradicate poverty, but to express the of God for the helpless.
- Proverbs 19:17
- Proverbs 14:31
- Proverbs 22:22-23
God pleads the cause of the poor through .
- James 5:1
- James 5:4
- James 5:5-6
Dr. Martin Luther King and the Beloved Community
Dr. King was someone God used to plead for the poor.
(King Commentary cited from PowerPoint slides created by Dr. Walter Augustine for a lecture titled “50 years After MLK: Dream or Nightmare: Recapturing King’s Vision f0r Biblical Justice”)
- Dr. King’s Endgame: The Beloved Community
- First Introduced by Joshiah Royce (1913)
- “Seeking ways to help humanity achieve its highest ideals”
- “Believed that the only way humanity could reach those goals was within a particular type of Christian community”
- Dr. King adapted the concept so that he could extend this Christian ethic to the broader society
- It was a community driven by the Christian ethic of love
- Key Descriptors of the community
- “It is not enough to just bring diverse groups of persons together in a community.. The members and community must intend to be together and live in those ways that acknowledge and respect the humanity and dignity of every person. What is more, persons must want to live in this type of community, and be willing to work cooperatively to achieve, sustain, and enhance it as far as possible.” – Rufus Burrow, God and Human Dignity
- “…there is no separate black path to power and fulfillment that does not intersect white paths, and there is no separate white path to power and fulfillment, short of social disaster, that does not share that power with black aspirations for freedom and dignity. We are bound together in a single garment of destiny.” – MLK, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?
How Do We Respond to the Needs of the Poor and Continue King’s Legacy in 2022?
(The following section is cited and quoted from “Reacting To Racism? Know Your Lane” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0usq2fk9D7g)
Find Your Lane
The Beloved Community Begins with the Church
Church engagement is for spiritual and care.
© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2022