One of the most powerful aspects of the Gospel is its ability to transform not just individual lives but all of society. Jesus said of himself
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free”
Luke 4:18 NIV
The prophets speak of the sin of society that brings God’s judgement. Its not sexual, which America seems to be hung up on, but economic. The sin that leads to the destruction of Samaria and Jerusalem is the abuse of the poor by those in power. When Jesus claims the messianic role he claims the to be the one who frees from oppression. The oppression of poverty, of health, of injustice.
How can the church do less?
We must get away from the idea that somehow people deserve to be in their situation, that somehow it is just deserts for failure of character or punishment for sin. The idea that prosperity is tied to righteousness is antithetical to the Gospel. We also need to get rid of the idea that it is our place to judge anyone’s worth.
Cyclical generational poverty is rampant in our society. With little or no safety net those who are in poverty stay in poverty and those with few resources are just one accident away from economic oppression.
One of the great oppressors is the pay day loan system. It gives loans to people who cannot get them anywhere else, but charges 300-500% (not a typo) interest, typically with exorbitant charges for late payments. Thus the average person finds themselves in a long term loan they can never pay off. Thus they never have a chance to save any money or address their overall financial state.
Fort Wayne is blessed with numerous organizations that seek to help those in need. Several of whom are FWBC partners in ministering to the community. However, I drive around some of the blocks near the church and see that we could do more.
This story about a Cooperative Fellowship Baptist Church in Kentucky has challenged me to start thinking bigger. I am praying and investigating how something like this might be done in our community.
Occasionally we need to be reminded that not only are we the body of Christ, but what that really means.