Best of Daily Reflections: How Does God Lift Up the Poor and Needy?
He lifts the poor from the dust, and the needy from the garbage dump.
Psalm 113 celebrates the greatness of God. It calls us to praise the Lord because he is “high above the nations” (113:4). Yet, though he is “enthroned on high,” God “stoops to look down on heaven and on earth” (113:6). He not only looks, but also acts: “He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump” (113:7).
This is wonderful, indeed. But I have a simple question: How? How does God do this?
If we look at the broad expanse of salvation history, we see that God is in the long-term business of lifting up the poor and needy. He is doing this through establishing his kingdom of earth. One day, God will abolish poverty. He will wipe away every tear. This world will be everything that he intends it to be.
Jesus Christ stands at the center of God’s kingdom-building work. He came, not just to save individual souls, but also to advance the reign of God on earth. He came to model a commitment to grace and justice so that his followers might imitate him. What God began in Jesus Christ he continues to do through the church, the people of God. Yes, of course God is free to act apart from us, and sometimes does. But, for the most part, God chooses to do work his work through us. Manna doesn’t appear too often anymore.
So, in this time of history, how will God lift up the poor and needy? Through his people. Through his church. Through you and me.
How we participate in God’s uplifting work will vary widely. Some of us will be directly involved in efforts to serve, feed, and empower the poor. Others of us will form NGOs to help the poor have clean water or decent health care. Others of us will contribute generously to organizations that are on the front lines of raising up the needy. Still others of us will start businesses to provide good work for those who need it, thus helping them to lift themselves out of poverty. Some of us will develop financial models so people in impoverished areas can start businesses. And so on, and so on.
Therefore, as we join with the psalmist in praising God for lifting up the poor and needy, let us also offer him our own lives in worship, so that he might do this praiseworthy work through us.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In what ways have you joined with God to lift up the poor and needy? Might there be other things God wants to do through you?
PRAYER: Gracious God, I do indeed praise you for your magnificence. I praise you because you have not let your greatness keep you from caring about us, even and especially those of us who are poor and needy. You stoop down to look upon those who suffer. You lift up the poor and needy. All praise be to you!
Yet, even as I praise you with my words, may I also praise you with my life. And may my life be part of your effort to raise up those who are hurting. Use me, Lord, to do your work. May my worship come, not only as I acknowledge your greatness, but also as I offer myself, my work, my whole life for your purposes. Amen.
Each year, workers everywhere receive an evaluation of their job performance from their employer and, while most evaluations in the workplace don't go quite the way they appear on The Apprentice, those annual evaluations are often the source of everything from disappointment and stress, to surprise and a boost of confidence. How do we approach and receive evaluations as Christian workers? What can we learn from Jesus about giving and receiving words of instruction, correction, and affirmation? How can entrepreneurs and the self-employed remain accountable for doing good work and for keeping an eye on weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the workplace? The series, The Evaluation, takes a closer look.