As I walked down the streets of downtown Memphis today, I saw an older man carrying a bible and sharing God’s word. He was obviously poor…possibly homeless…and also very dirty.
People weren’t paying very much attention to him., and they certainly weren’t taking him seriously.
First of all, let me say that this post isn’t advocating preachers being poor or condemning those being rich. We all know there are preachers who pervert the Gospel by teaching idolatry and greed through false ‘prosperity’ teaching. We also know there are preachers who think there is some glory in being a ‘poor preacher’ which also is not necessarily true. There are ministers who have done well beyond the pulpit, and are responsible with their wealth and I also see nothing wrong with that. I also know there are many people who expect preachers to be poor and don’t trust any who seem to show any signs of affluence.
What I want to address are those people who EXPECT ministers to be well-off, and feel that if they aren’t wealthy or well-to-do, if they don’t drive in a nice care and wear nice clothes that they aren’t representing the Gospel well. Many people don’t want to listen to a preacher who the feel is poor.
Just as there are many people who think that rich preachers aren’t credible. Our prosperous and blessed society has allowed some people to become so spiritually arrogant and proud that they don’t want to, and will not listen to a preacher that they perceive to be poor.
Matthew 8:20 (NKJV)
20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
Notice that Jesus’ needs were met by the women who followed Him. We all know how well that would go over these days…
Luke 8:1-3 (NKJV)
8 Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, 2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, 3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him[a] from their substance.
Also notice also that widow whom Elisha helped in 2 Kings was the wife a prophet who feared the LORD and did his job well, but still died and left his family in poverty, so much so, that his creditors threatened to come and take His sons. Of course God delivered them through the prophet Elisha, but my point is that this good prophet was poor.
James 2:5 (NKJV)
5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
God uses both rich and poor to declare His name…share His truth…share His love and carry the message of salvation.
As much as you may be critical of those who rejected Jesus in the bible, your attitude today is a strong indication of what your attitude would have been if you lived back then.