TODAY'S READING IS FROM DAY #21 of Milton Vincent's A Gospel Primer for Christians - Learning to See the Glories of God's Love
Like nothing else could ever do, the Gospel of Jesus Christ instills in me a heart for the downcast, the poverty-stricken, and those in need of physical mercies, especially when such persons are of the household of faith.
When I see persons who are materially poor, I instantly feel a kinship with them, for they are physically what I was spiritually when my heart was closed to Christ. Perhaps some of them are in their condition because of sin, but so was I. Perhaps they are unkind when I try to help them; but I, too, have been spiteful to God when He has sought to help me. Perhaps they are thankless and even abuse the kindness I show them, but how many times have I been thankless and used what God has given me to serve selfish ends?
Perhaps a poverty-stricken person will be blessed and changed as a result of some kindness I show him. If so, God be praised for His grace through me. But if the person walks away unchanged by my kindness, then I still rejoice over the opportunity to love as God loves. Perhaps the person will repent in time; but for now, my heart is chastened and made wiser by the tangible depiction of what I myself have done to God on numerous occasions.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ reminds me daily of the spiritual poverty into which I was born and also of the staggering generosity of Christ towards me.
Such reminders instill in me both a felt connection to the poor and a desire to show them the same generosity that has been lavished on me. When ministering to the poor with these motivations, I not only preach the Gospel to them through word and deed, but I reenact the Gospel to my own benefit as well.
When working with children and families in Hamilton Hill, Schenectady, NY, I needed no introduction to poverty. It was a way of life for me from my mother’s womb. I simply grew a stronger affinity for children and families once I received Christ.
My Goal Was Simple: show these children and families the same love God shows me.
Praise to the God of All Comfort – My Daily Inspiration:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all COMFORT, who COMFORTS us in all our troubles, so that we can COMFORT those in any trouble with the COMFORT we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our COMFORT abounds through Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
The task was easier said than done, but what helped was that I was one of their neighbors too – living alongside them in the inner-city chaos and squalor. I quickly realized these young ones were growing up as I did: little to eat and barely any supervision. God placed them on my heart to help with befriending their families, assisting with tutoring, home-cooked meals and when needed shopping for school clothes and supplies. Today I no longer live in the inner-city but my heart remains sensitive to Christ and His work in my life regarding children and families.
- Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
The poor in spirit are those who feel a deep sense of spiritual destitution and comprehend their nothingness before God. The kingdom of heaven is theirs, because they seek it, and therefore find and abide in it. To this virtue is opposed the pride of the Pharisee, which caused him to thank God that he was not as other men, and to despise and reject the kingdom of heaven. There must be emptiness before there can be fullness, and so poverty of spirit precedes riches and grace in the kingdom of God.
- Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
The blessing is not upon all that mourn but upon those who mourn in reference to sin. They shall be comforted by the discovery and appropriation of God’s pardon. But all mourning is traced directly or indirectly to sin. We may take it, therefore, that in its widest sense the beatitude covers all those who are led by mourning to a discerning of sin, and who so deplore its effects and consequences in the world as to yearn for and seek the deliverance which is in Christ.
- Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth
The humble would receive far greater than the arrogant and prideful. Not only do the meek enjoy more of life on earth because of their ability to be content, but they will possess and enjoy the earth after Jesus’ return and triumphal entry.
- Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Because of Christ, we can cling to the promise of everlasting righteousness in heaven. While we are called to live like Christ, we also have forgiveness of sin.
- Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Mercy is an active virtue that Christians can show to each other because we have been given mercy ourselves. Since God has forgiven our offenses, we should forgive others and show mercy.
- Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
The pure in heart are those who are free from evil desires and purposes. They can see and experience God’s presence because they are free from self-righteousness and arrogance.
- Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God.
The term includes all who make peace between men, whether as individuals or as communities. It includes even those who worthily endeavor to make peace, though they fail of success. They shall be called God’s children because he is the God of peace who sent His own Son as the Prince of Peace.
- Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Those who suffer because of their loyalty to the kingdom of heaven are blessed by being bound more closely to that kingdom for which they suffer.