Remember The Poor – What The Poor Mean To Us
We lean toward the lost, the poor, the outcast, and the outsider with the compassion of Jesus as sinners whose only standing before God is utterly dependent on the mercy of God. This mercy can only be truly received inasmuch as we are willing to give it away.
Extending the Kingdom of God through church planting and missional living.
Giving What We Have Been Given
In our Vineyard Core Values statement we say:
“We lean toward the lost, the poor, the outcast, and the outsider with the compassion of Jesus as sinners whose only standing before God is utterly dependent on the mercy of God. This mercy can only be truly received inasmuch as we are willing to give it away.”
In other words, we as a church movement “lean toward” those who are suffering and are weak in society. We do so not because we believe we are better than them, or because we believe we can fix them. We lean toward the poor, the outcast, and the outsider because we ourselves have experienced the kindness and mercy of God.
God did not look at each one of us and decide to show us mercy based on whether or not we had gotten ourselves into a mess, or we were blameless because someone else had done something to us. He simply looked on us with love & acted in compassion to rescue us from the kingdom of darkness. Click To Tweet
Grateful people, who know the joy of their salvation, tend to be more careful when it comes to judging others. In the Vineyard we seek to be a thankful group of people, so that when we see someone in need our hearts are ready to respond with care rather than judgment. As Jesus said, “He who is forgiven much, loves much” (Luke 7:47). Through our spiritual practices as churches, we want to become people who love much.
The Poor Are Jesus To Us
What do the poor mean to us? In the profound moment when Jesus said, “…Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40), he was teaching us how to see the poor. We see the poor not as “underprivileged” or “needy,” but rather as “Jesus.” Like Mother Theresa, who regularly cared for the poor in Calcutta, India, Vineyard churches generate ministries around the globe that see the poor as Jesus – and are serving them with great dignity.
A story about John Wimber illustrates this tenderness toward the poor. John was known for keeping a bag of basic groceries in the trunk of his car and looking for someone to whom he could give them. He even once said, “Many Christians and Christian leaders have been neutralized by the love of money and materialism. The homage paid to affluence becomes a burden that saps our energy as well as our love for God and other people. Through repentance and the cleansing of forgiveness, we can rid ourselves of this burden and begin to let God transform our value system. Like Jesus and Paul, we can learn to be content with what we have, living modestly in order that we may give liberally to the work of the kingdom and to meet the needs of others.”
It is in this spirit that we seek to operate as churches. Because the poor mean much to Jesus, we must seek out those who are the most in need around us. Click To Tweet With the resources in our hands, we desire to invest in Good News being shared with the poor – both spiritually and materially.
Lifting People From Poverty And Injustice
Of course, this will look different in different places. Poverty means many different things in different parts of the world. Vineyard churches exist in these places, and it is part of our genetic code to join Jesus in his mission to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
For this reason you will find Vineyard communities caring for the poor as though caring for themselves, eagerly sharing their resources to help lift people from poverty and injustice.