Today's guest post is an excerpt from Dr. Jim Denison's blog "Why You Should Care About the Poor." Jim Denison, Ph.D., is founder of the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, a non-sectarian "think tank" designed to engage contemporary issues with biblical truth. Join over 100,000 who read Dr. Denison's daily Cultural Commentary: denisonforum.org/subscribe. For more information on the Denison Forum, visit denisonforum.org. To connect with Dr. Denison in social media, visit twitter.com/jimdenison or facebook.com/denisonforum.
Why does God care so much about the poor? Why does he call us to do the same? Because each person is his creation, made uniquely in his image, someone for whom Jesus died. A father cares for the physical needs of his children as well as the spiritual. If one of your children were hungry or hurting today, how would you feel? That's how God feels about every impoverished person.
But a second reason is that the first leads to the second. Jesus met physical need so he could meet spiritual need. He healed blind eyes so he could heal blind souls. He fed bodies so he could feed spirits. His disciples did the same. His disciples are called to do the same today. Dr. Randel Everett, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Midland, Texas, is right: "I have no right to preach the gospel to a hungry person."
A third reason why God wants us to care for the poor is that such compassion demonstrates the relevance of the gospel to our skeptical culture. The number of atheists and agonistics in America has quadrupled in the last 20 years. Sixty percent of our young people, ages 15-29, have left the church with no plans to return. What will happen if their children follow their example?
Why are they leaving? Every survey gives the same answer: they don't believe the church is relevant to their lives and society. In our culture, God is a hobby. He's for Sunday, not Monday; we separate the spiritual from the secular, religion from the real world.
But when God's people, in God's power, demonstrate God's love to those who need his help the most, we show our culture that he is relevant to our day. We meet physical need to meet spiritual need to preach the gospel. That's why Jesus began his ministry by preaching good news to the poor. It's why we must continue it in the same way today.
To read more of this article, visit Dr. Denison's website, The Denison Forum on Truth and Culture.