Daily Office Readings for Tuesday of Proper 4: Year 2
“And when James [the brother of Jesus (Gal 18:19)] and Cephas [Simon Peter] and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do,” (Galatians 2: 9 – 10)
In my studies I have found that language changes as money comes into the world. In the earliest days people who owned farm land were instructed by God to leave some for the needy and not to go back and take up the last of everything. They weren’t poor, just needy.
However, with money, we now have “the poor.” With money we have the haves and the have-nots. With the haves and have-nots, we have scarcity. Scarcity ranges over time: it can be coins of currency in antiquity to toilet paper today. But no matter what the need, we are instructed, as was Paul, to remember the poor. And with that remembrance also comes our response. This is an issue of real faith.
James reminds us that response is so important. He writes, “But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.” (James 2:18) So remembering the poor really is about responding to their need. It is the one thing that the early followers of our Lord Jesus ask of us still today. Are we, like Paul, actually eager to do so?
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John