This article was originally posted on Kings Church website. https://www.kingschurch.com/grace-and-justice-by-liz-corbett/
Did you know that there are around 285 scriptures on the poor and needy in the Bible? To me this means the subject of social justice is important to God.
God is the Father to the Fatherless, the husband to the widow, the friend to
the lonely, the provider to the needy.
At the beginning of lockdown and the start of the Corona Virus in the UK, our road, like many of yours, were moved at the plight of the vulnerable, the sick, those who had lost their jobs and livelihood. We collected Easter Eggs for the NHS, people shopped for elderly neighbours, we did a large food bank collection and even collected a box of treats for our Dustbin men. It was amazing how the community came together. People felt they had done their part and I know, because I found my heart moving in this direction too, that we thought we had done a good deed and it was a nice thing to do. A bit of pride crept in. But, within a few months we already became used to the reports of people going hungry, not having work etc and as life returned to a bit of normality, hearts hardened and we forgot that people are still suffering. We did another food bank collection and probably got half of our original donation.
The world these days pushes that we need to look after ourselves first. As
Christians we look at giving to the poor as a nice thing to do, that we do our
little bit. But God does not look at giving to the poor as a nice thing, it’s not
chalking up points in heaven, he compels us to give and stand up for those who cannot speak up for themselves (Prov31:8).
Many of us use the excuse that the money we have, we have worked hard for and therefore we can do what we like with it. As Tim Keller said in a podcast I recently heard, taken from his Generous Justice book, how arrogant – who gave us the ability to work, who let you be born where you are, into the privileges you were born into? God gives us everything, everything is his after all, “Blessed are you O Lord, God of Israel, our father forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth are yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come from you and you rule over all. In your hand is power and might,and in your hand it is to make great and give strength to all.” 1 Chronicles 29:10-13.
The Israelites and people of the old testament were a proud people who saw
riches as something great and to be pursued but God challenged them on this.
He turned their thinking about the poor, the widow and the alien upsidedown.
In fact, God saw their religiosity as a burden to him when they ignored the
poor. In Isaiah 1:14-23, God shows his anger towards his own people, the
language is strong, God tells the people of Judah that he won’t listen to their
prayers until they turn from their evil deeds, “learn to do good, seek justice,
correct oppression, bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause”
(v17). God’s kind of fasting, his idea of serving him is to “loose the bonds of
wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free…”
I work for a charity and I know I can use the excuse that my job is to “speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves”, but God has challenged me on this lately and I have felt I have used this an excuse for not doing more. If we truly grasped the doctrine of grace we would be generous as we would realise how much God has given us in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “I have
observed over the decades that when people see the beauty of God’s grace, it leads t hem powerfully toward justice” Tim Keller, Generous Justice.
May we be challenged to do more, give more, stand up more for those in our community, country and the world who are weak, vulnerable, hungry and
refugee in our society. Prayerfully ask God what he wants you involved in and then go and put your faith into action. Feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit those who are in prison. (Matt 25:31 – 46). Remember how much you have been blessed and let’s go and be a blessing.