THE POOR IN THE CHURCH
In general terms, God did not call the rich of the world, but those who were poor. Most of us fell into the poor category when we were called to Godís service, and then found out that we were expected to give to the work as if we had no bills, no debt and a great savings account. Many of us were pretty much working class citizens with no real opportunity in our chosen line of work for upward mobility on the financial ladder.
Most of us were fervent believers and witnessed many real miracles in our lives, but did not find any way out of our financial woes. We were not able to save for rainy days, a college fund for our kids, nor for health insurance of any kind, as we were pretty much hand to mouth with nothing left over.
At the same time, we were constantly hearing of trouble for the work and the need for sending in extra offerings to help out with some emergency cash flow problem at headquarters. Therefore, anytime we had some small extra blessing, it found its way into an envelope and on its way to Pasadena.
If we knew we were short on funding, we would often sleep in our cars on the long road to a festival site, just so there would be extra offerings for the Church. One year that we did that, my Son got very ill after a freezing night in the car, and we all followed suit with illness while at the feast.
I look back on that now, and I ask myself to what avail did we do those things? I understand now, in hindsight, that all those sacrifices were misguided in principal. Here is why. We are informed by Timothy that a person who fails to properly care for his own flesh and blood has literally denied the faith and is worse than an infidel! You see, God makes provision that each person is to have a certain amount always set aside to care for their entire family, and then anything over that, is fair game. By setting aside funds for the work before setting aside for my family, I was literally an infidel, and though I felt faithful, my actions were to deny the very faith I thought I was exercising. Our Benevolent God does not ask His people to deny their families, but rather he made multiple provisions to relieve them of hardship. One example is with tithing in ancient Israel, where God did not require a tithe on nine animals, so, by extension into todayís world, we are expected to have a certain financial base before God asks for a return. The Sabbatical year, and the Jubilee year were two more examples of how God made it possible in regular recurring cycles for the poor to have equal opportunity for upward mobility. At some point in the near future, I will venture into an essay on the many ways that God watches out for His poor.