Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”-John 18:36
In my last post there was some criticism made through the social network that I was not addressing the need to change the political system. The reason why I did not address the corrupt system is because I don’t believe that we can change it. I am also not convinced that the most effective way to serve the homeless is through political change. We are living in the 21st century and we cannot be so naive as to believe that there is a political party or system that is going to resolve the problems in the world. I do believe that in order to achieve any kind of substantial change in the lives of the poor we need to be realistic. Believing in political solutions for poverty is not realistic in my opinion.
“For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good but Me you do not have always.”-Mark 14:7
Jesus was not being pessimistic when He said this. He was being realistic. We cannot make any positive changes in our society without realizing that the poor will always be with us. There will always be injustice in this world. Jesus did not try to overthrow the oppressive Roman Empire but He established something even better in its place. He established the Kingdom of God which transcends all the kingdoms of the world. The Kingdom of God is a spiritual Kingdom. However, there is a tendency to think of spiritual as something shadowy or unreal or impractical. This is the pagan idea of spiritual existence. The Christian idea is that the spiritual reality is the acknowledgement of a deeper Truth that exists beyond the material reality. The world functions on a material level. It attempts to address issues on a temporal and limited foundation. God works on eternal goals which are superior and profound. They are not goals reserved for life after death. They are effective changes that transform our here and now.
The Kingdom of God works in the heart of the individual. This perhaps is quite uncomfortable for those who believe in a social gospel ideology. They might think that I am suggesting a purely personal individualized religion. I think an individualized religion is not compatible with the Christian religion. Everything Jesus did was for the common good. He died for the common good. The apostles gave their lives serving the common good. They did not sit in political councils or spend time discussing the latest theological or political ideas or concepts from a distance. They went to meet individuals and communities and became instruments of love and humility in direct interaction with the poor and the forgotten.
Any casual reading of the Bible would show that God has a preference for the poor. It is not that the poor deserve it. No one deserves God’s preference. God chooses certain groups to be His vehicle to reveal His love. He chose the Jewish people because they were marginalized and ostracized and God exalted them to be His channel of blessing to the world. God chooses the most unlikely candidates to reveal His goodness. The world political system chooses people based on a different standard; even the socialist systems choose among the elite to be their spokespersons. Jesus chose fishermen and women and other marginalized people to be His spokespersons.
We serve the poor because Jesus is among them through the Holy Spirit. We discover the wealth of the gospel when we serve where Jesus is present. In our ministry, we realize early in our work that we do not have the answers. We also discover that it is not necessary to have the answers. Anyone who thought that they knew how to solve the problem of poverty usually ends up being an enemy of the poor. The poor are not a concept but individual people who have come to this situation because of various factors. A singular theory does not do justice to the problems we face. Education and employment can produce opportunities but they cannot heal the hopelessness. We need a Healer to do this. The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of healing and renewal.
We do not have the power to heal but we know that Jesus is alive and active and He is a healer of our souls. We also know that we cannot depend on any political system to bring improvement to the lives of the people. Therefore, we are not going to wait for anyone. We just go and serve the King who is establishing His kingdom through healing and renewal; one soul at a time. We can participate by being His instrument of love and humility. We don’t have to wait for election day to do this. We don’t need money or influential people to promote our cause. We just have to step out of our doorsteps and find the those who are lost and forgotten in our society and the Holy Spirit will welcome you with open arms to participate in the transformative work of our God. This is the only way we can truly change the world.