“You shall not withhold the wages of the poor and needy laborers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land in one of your towns. You shall pay them their wages daily before sunset, because they are poor and their livelihood depends on them; otherwise they might cry to the LORD against you, and you would incur guilt. … You shall not deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice; you shall not take a widow’s garment in pledge. … When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all your undertakings. When you beat your olive trees, do not strip what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, do not glean what is left, it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow.” Deuteronomy24:14-15, 17, 19-21
Wesleyan – Life
Application Topic - Caring for the Poor and the Stranger
In seeking to recover the model of the earliest Christians, John Wesley was drawn to the loves of the poor. As he began to live in the grace of God, he found this grace most fully present among those who were utterly dependent on God: the marginalized of his society. The law is clear in reminding us that gifts of creation are not for our sole use (Deuteronomy 24:18-21); they are to bless the rich and the poor, each a recipient of grace, each deserving of basic human dignity (Deuteronomy 24:13, 15). (Wesley Study Bible, pg 246)
– Core Term - Poverty
Understanding poverty in all its dimensions (economic, political, cultural, physical, and spiritual), Wesley took the command of Jesus, to minister to and live with the poor, with utter seriousness. For Wesleyans, aiding the poor means making them more capable to fulfill their God-given gifts; it does not mean making them dependent. Simply giving money, however important, will not release people from poverty unless the other dimensions of poverty are addressed. This means of course, that the systems causing impoverished conditions must be changed. But is also means that disciples of Christ must be intimately related to the poor so that the poor can be fully brought into life-giving community. One of the most distinctive aspects of Wesley’s teaching was that, while one cannot earn one’s salvation, one’s experience of the joy of salvation is to be found in the midst of what God is doing in and with the poor. (Wesley Study Bible, pg 247)
O God help me to see the big picture, to be aware, to advocate change, to find ways to assist others; more than just give money. Let me be part of your plan to transform lives. Show me what I can do, show me what our congregations can do; give us bold outlooks to step into that which you call us to.