Where the Harvest is Most Ripe
“5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?” James 2:5-7 NCV
A few weeks ago, I spent a lot of time in a Church History class at a Bible College. Our teacher was a scholar who served as a missionary for thirty years in China and Korea. He bubbled over with passion for reaching the lost in areas where the Gospel had not been previously heard or shared. He shared with us how the underground church in China had experienced exponential growth and the Gospel was spreading like wildfire there. He shared about areas in the third world where the missionaries for the Gospel faced intense persecution, yet the Gospel was still spreading aggressively.
I asked him about areas like the United States where there is a clear decline in the church. Dr. Ro explained to me that often people like Americans and Europeans are the hardest people to reach with the Gospel because there is no need for God. We are wealthy and are bombarded with “stuff.” We have all the food we need, all the housing we need, and all the finances we need. Why would we need God? Why would we need the Gospel?
Historically, he shared with me, the Gospel spreads like fire among people who are desperate for hope. “Those who are poor,” James says in James 2, “inherit the kingdom he promised” Perhaps along with God’s great provision for us, comes our blindness to Him. It is often those who are the poor of this world, who possess more opportunities to trust God and to see His miraculous provision. David Guzik’s Bible Commentary says the following:
“Church history demonstrates that comparatively more poor people than rich have responded to the Gospel.”
When sharing the Gospel, too many Americans are not ready to receive the message of Jesus because we are too self-sufficient. Because we have enough food to eat, adequate shelter over our heads, and safety for our families, we don’t recognize the need for God. Because we go to our jobs and bring home our paychecks, we don’t need Jehovah Jireh, our provider. Maybe we need to search for those who are poor in spirit. Those who are humble enough to recognize the need for God rather than stuff.
To those who are rich, James would warn that we not trust in or riches to save us. By the way… if we live in America, own a car, have a roof over our heads, and own a bank account (not even mentioning how much is in it), we are rich in this world.
May my heart Lord always be sensitive to You and to Your people. Increase my compassion for the poor. Increase my dependence on You. In the strong name of Jesus Christ, amen.