ARE THE POOR WELCOME IN THE CHURCH?
by Eva Haglund, Sweden
Nowadays you can read about Christian conferences, which at times can cost a lot of money for one person to attend. If your family wants to go to the conference that would indeed be a lot of money to pay.
What happens then for those Christians who cannot afford to pay? They are then unable to go to any conference. Are not Christian conferences for the poor also?
I understand that it costs money to operate a church building. But to have people stopped at the door because they cannot afford to give? I know of such places.
If people hear about meetings in that building, and they are not saved and yet try to visit, is it any wonder if they are also stopped at the door because they do not have money to give? Would they ever try to visit a Christian meeting again?
There are many Christians who do not have much money. While some Christians can afford to go on trips to many locations, there are others who cannot even afford to buy a book. Some of these hardly even have food. Yet are these sisters and brothers in the Lord still welcome in church? Are there people who are not saved, and poor, who are not welcome in the church?
A church congregation ought to be there for the poor in church also. In John we read that love is a testimony to the world. If people in church are met by love it is a testimony. It is written, "that they all may be one, as You Father are in Me, and I in You that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." Jesus says also in John "This is My commandment that you love one another as I have loved you." We ought to do the same.
In Acts we read that Christians "sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need." I do not think we always have to sell all our possessions and divide them, but we see here the heart they had for sisters and brothers in the church who were poor. We see here the care for the poor, to help each other when there was a need.
Many people are poor in the world and they need to feel welcomed in church. Jesus was generous. He also said, "Feed My sheep." In John show care in different ways. Jesus gave His Bread, which is His life. (John
In Acts. 3:6 Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." I do not think Peter had money here either, as he said, "silver and gold I do not have". But he gave what he had.
We understand that Jesus identified with the poor. He came into the world and was born in a stable. Even as a newborn He identified with the poor and homeless. He was not welcomed in the hostel. As in some places today, doors can also be closed.
If there are economic needs in church, these needs should be met in a way other than making people pay to go to a church gathering. In the Bible we see that the Christians collected as they could and helped the poor. In Luke 10 we read that the Samaritan reached out and helped a man who was wounded emotionally and physically, having no money to help himself. We are to do as this example was given to us.
The church needs to reach out and assist the poor. There needs to be a welcoming church for the poor. We are called to be Jesus' hands and feet on earth, and welcome the poor into our midst. Then we will be demonstrating the true love of Jesus to the world, as we welome the poor into our churches.