He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people. Psalm 113:7-8
My sixth-grade teacher, Miss Miller, told us kids at Grace School that we should order our lives around the word “JOY”. “J” is for Jesus; “O” is for Others; and “Y” is for “Yourself”.
Great advice. Jesus says “Follow me.” When faced with poverty, racism, sexism and so many other “isms”, as followers of Jesus, we must ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves.
In dealing with our neighbors – that’s all of humankind – Jesus takes it a step further and tells us that if we do good to “the least of these,” we do it to Jesus. In today’s devotional reading, the psalmist points to this when the psalmist writes that the Lord picks up the poor from the dirt, rescues the forgotten who have been thrown out with the trash, and seats these outcasts among the honored guests. What does Jesus say – the last shall be first and the first shall be last – which seems very counterintuitive by worldly standards.
We are called to be God’s hands and feet at work in the world. We are called to lift up the poor and comfort the broken hearted. As Father Greg Boyle states, “And so the voices at the margins get heard and the circle of compassion widens.”
So how should we live? The Methodist saying in the prayer tells us.
Gracious and loving God, help us ‘to do all the good we can, by all the means we can, in all the ways we can, in all the places we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can, as long as we can.’ In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.