"Blessed are y0u poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied." (Luke 6:20b-21)No need to go into details, but I have been waiting over three months for some response from a company that owes me money. I've been frustrated, and can't understand why they aren't stepping up and doing the right thing. Do they think I can afford to pay hundreds of dollars just for fun?
And then I thought, "Well, maybe they do." Maybe they think that all pastors serve mega-churches and make six figure salaries. Uh... no. Some of us serve tiny churches and drive twelve-year-old cars. Like most big cities, Long Beach has some pricey neighborhoods - Naples, Bluff Park, Virginia Country Club, a few others. But I don't live in one of those neighborhoods, and my church isn't in one of those neighborhoods.
Here in North Long Beach, we're surrounded by Title 1 schools(1), Section 8 housing(2), and a forest of foreclosure signs. We have a lot to learn about who God is, what it means to be "church," what it means to be servants like Jesus. The people we serve are faithful and generous, but they have to work with what they have... and some of them have a lot to give.
QUESTION: What can the church do to meet the life-needs of the people in our communities, as James wrote, "What is the good, brothers and sisters, if a person has raggedy clothes and is hungry, and one of you says, 'I'm praying for you to be warm and fed' but gives nothing?"
(1) Title 1 is a program of the U.S. Department of Education with the purpose of "improving the academic achievement of the disadvantaged."
(2) Section 8 is a subsidized housing program administered by Housing and Urban Development.