Athlete, Remember This
Galatians 2:10 (NIV)
All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.
People have preferences. The sports we follow, the positions we play, even the numbers we wear are indicators. Don’t the brands, churches, charities, clubs, causes, organizations, schools and teams we choose become indicators too?
Preferences certainly hit our color and cuisine choices, music and entertainment options too. We even prefer which chair we sit on and on which side of the bed we sleep. We sure do a lot of preferring, don’t we!
But God says there are a few things that we must make universal, things that should be preferred and supported no matter who we are and where we live.
As Americans, we say these are universal rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
God would argue there are other, higher accents like truth and justice, forgiveness and love (of God and our neighbor as ourselves). When these are chosen, installed and active, people prosper, both individually and corporately. When they are absent, individuals and communities of every size collapse.
Interestingly, God’s Word points to a catalyst that helps us keep these good universals in play more than we think. It’s this: “Remember the poor.”
Nearly 200 times the Bible mentions the poor. In Galatians 2 we see Christians wrestling with power and control issues in living out the gospel.
The common ground they found that kept things moving forward and upward didn’t have anything to do with political compromise, a radical social construct, a new doctrine, or a fresh manifesto. It centered simply on remembering the poor.
Remembering the poor MEANS more than noticing poverty. It means leaning into it. It means closing some personal living gaps. It means spotting disadvantage and being moved with kindness and compassion, two big things that reflect God’s heart and the gospel.
It means ending the comparison game we all like to play from day to day. It means fighting for all that is right. It means living like “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
Remembering the poor BRINGS people together and keeps them connected like little else can. It unites us in powerful ways, making us all feel at the soul level, a vital place to reach.
Remembering the poor REMINDS us how impoverished all of us are at some level and how blessed we are in other ways. The rich see how actually poor they are and the poor see how actually rich they are. And it makes us all see that we are not alone.
Remembering the poor PROMPTS us to care as we ought and helps us PRACTICE life’s two most important skills – the giving and receiving of love.
When the poor are cared for, truth and justice come into better focus. Love and forgiveness get more exercise. Humility grows. Life is reverenced, liberty is championed, and selfless service is unleashed. So remembering the poor is way more foundational than we think.
If we don’t, oppression, injustice, classism, and racism will keep finding ugly ways to rule the day and we will be duped into thinking that power, politics, government, and war alone are our only recourse.
Like Paul, let’s robustly remember the poor, making it “the very thing I was eager to do.”
Reflect: What does remembering the poor look like to you? Is it sharing your L.I.F.E. (Labor, Influence, Finances, Expertise)? Would you memorize and meditate on Matthew 5:3 or James 1:27 or both this week?
A prayer to consider: Heavenly Father, help me be poor in spirit like Jesus, to remember the poor, and to be eager to do this all my days. Detox me from me and fill me up with the Spirit of Christ. I really want these wins. Amen.