The U.S. News once quoted Jimmy Carter as saying, “Most church members — including me — rarely reach outside to people who are different from us or less fortunate. Quite often my Sunday school class will say, ‘Why don’t we take up a collection and give a nice Thanksgiving meal to a poor family?’ The next question is, ‘Who knows a poor family?’ Nobody does.” So Carter challenges us to get to know needy people. The Bible is quite clear that God wants us to help the less fortunate. The prophet Micah chastised ancient Israel for their failure to do so. In Micah 6, he posed the question, “Will God be satisfied with your huge offerings of animals, oil, and even firstborn sons?” His answer: “No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Salvation by grace has not canceled these ethical duties. God still calls his people to love him with all their hearts, to love others, and to treat them with justice and mercy. In fact, we now have the Holy Spirit’s power to help us do this more perfectly than ancient Israel. At that time, God said He judge His people because they failed to show mercy toward others. How will God judge us today if we ignore the needy, despite His abundant blessings upon us?
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