Open Your Bible
Colossians 1:16-17, Isaiah 58:10-12, Matthew 25:31-40, Jeremiah 22:16
BY Guest Writer
Text: Colossians 1:16-17, Isaiah 58:10-12, Matthew 25:31-40, Jeremiah 22:16
“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”
– Isaiah 58:10
“I will tell you what my problem is,” said Wanda glaring at me, “my problem is HER! Because I ain’t nobody’s summer project.” I was 19, and living for the summer in the very place where God awakened my heart to the work He was doing among the poor—inner city Washington DC.
When I first fell in love with Jesus in my early teens, He made 2 things very clear to me: 1) I was the object of His affection, and 2) He loved the poor and wanted to me to “know Him” by spending my life engaged with the poor.
And so here I found myself, a white privileged teenager interning in a home for women recovering from drug addiction. When Wanda called me out during our weekly house meeting, I froze. Was I treating her like a project? It sure could seem that way— me zipping in for the summer to live in a home of recovering addicts, to ensure they followed house rules and to engage in their recovery journey. “Jesus is my only project,” was all I could muster.
After a few weeks, Wanda asked to talk with me. “Thanks for letting me get mad at you and loving me anyway. When I was your age, I was already turning tricks on the streets. I am so jealous that you are on the right track when I wasted so many years of my life.”
I am thankful Wanda taught me, when I was still so young, that the poor are not a project. Colossians 1:16-17 talks about how God created ALL things and that in EVERYTHING Christ has the supremacy. This includes poor communities. As Corbett and Fikkert summarize in When Helping Hurts, Christ is and has been actively at work in poor communities. When we enter into the lives of the poor, it is like walking on Holy Ground.
Colossians goes on to say that, through the cross of Jesus, God has reconciled to Himself ALL things that were broken. The broken relationship we had with God— REDEEMED! The broken relationship man had with one another— RENEWED! The broken relationship we had with work and nature— RESTORED! The broken relationship we had with ourselves— RESCUED!
God calls each of us to not only share the gospel in words, but to be agents of reconciliation across all of the above relationships in order to create a flourishing world. The good news of the Kingdom that Jesus announced in Luke 4:17-21, is the “renewal of the whole world through the entrance of supernatural forces. As things are brought back under Christ’s rule, they are restored to health, beauty and freedom” (Tim Keller). Communities are restored through the all-encompassing nature of the gospel.
It doesn’t matter that you may have different experiences, speak a different language, or come from a different income bracket than your poor neighbor. Each of us is invited by God Himself to spend ourselves on behalf of the poor. This is what it means to know God. This is what it means to love mercy.
Jessica Honegger is the founder of Noonday Collection, an organization which uses fashion and design to create economic opportunity for the vulnerable. What started as a trunk show in Jessica’s home as a means to raise money for the adoption of her son and third child from Rwanda, has grown into a thriving business directly affecting the lives of over 2,000 artisans and their families in more than 10 countries around the world.