Happy New Year!!!
Thank you so much to all of you who gave during the holiday season. It was a biggest year for holiday giving. You guys have went above and beyond our expectation for this season.
But, we are now into a new year, the season continues, and we have work that needs to be done.
We are about a third of the way through our season. I'd like to take time some time and thank all the host churches that have helped us so far:
The Center for Discipleship
New Hope Missionary Church
Trinity United Methodist
Thank you St. Paul's for allowing The Refuge use your building the one week we did not have a volunteer church.
Imlay City Christian Reformed
And currently hosting is North Branch Wesleyan Church
Thank you all so much for partnering with us and all the hard work you put in to make sure the homeless have food and shelter during these cold months. We could not do this without you!
We have 11 more weeks ahead of us. We are looking forward with partnering with all the churches in the coming weeks.
Right now, I want to turn your attention to a little verse that doesn't get much preaching time in our churches today. It is Luke 6:24.
Many know about the Beatitudes of Matthew chapter 5: blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the meek, blessed are the peacemakers…etc. Did you know that many of these are repeated in Luke. Jesus is preaching on a "plain", a level place, to his disciples.
In this Jesus repeats the teachings, "Blessed are the poor…" But, what is different than his teachings in Matthew, is he also addresses the rich.
He says, "woe for you who are rich, for you have had your comforts in full."
Another translation says, "But how terrible it will be for you who are rich, because you have had your easy life."
Now, you might be thinking, "Well, I don't have to worry about that. I am not rich!"
But, did you know, compared to the rest of the world, Americans, along with Europeans, are the top 1% of the whole world. Some parts of the world earn less than a dollar a day. Here in America, 56% of the people make more than $50 a day.
And it shows - when it comes to our comfort we pay big bucks - luxury cars, comfy couches, soft beds…etc. Also, we pay big for entertainment while we sit in our comfy couches.
Could Jesus be speaking to us when he said, "Woe for you…you have had your comforts in full"?
When we see our neighbors homeless, hungry, and cold, we should feel for them. We should get off our comfy couches and see that our fellow human beings are cared for. It is our calling, our mandate as humans to care for other human beings.
It is our mandate from God himself.
So, I leave you on that note - keep this thought when you are going about your day.
For now, this is Andrew, signing off – Seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.