Galatians 2:1-10 (NIV)
Paul Accepted by the Apostles
2 Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2 I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4 This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5 We did not give in to them for a moment so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. 6 As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were, makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message. 7 On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised. 8 For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9 James, Cephas, and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.
How does caring for the poor (verse 10) relate to proclaiming the Gospel of Grace?
Holy Savior, many people right now are hurting inside. They feel lost or empty. They long to know the purpose of their existence. They need to hear about the loving Savior so they can believe in You. This is why we must obey Your solemn command to us to proclaim the gospel. These are unsettled and anxious times, but during this season, we have the perfect opportunity to proclaim the gospel so people can hear and believe in You. And the Good News is all about Your love. Your love is shown in practical ways as well as in words that carry spiritual power to transform. You have sent us to focus on the poor and needy. Those who are struggling and recognize their own poverty either physically or spiritually, are more open and receptive than those who are confident and prideful and not recognizing their need for You. You care about the poor. You care about their physical needs. When we minister to those physical needs, we demonstrate Your love through our actions. This also gives us the opportunity to share Your good news of grace and salvation. A part of the good news to the poor is that they don’t have to be poor forever. Actually, when people are adopted into Your family, they become rich. Accessing those riches, both spiritual and economic, does require faith and obedience, and usually some time. But there is no doubt that all other things being equal, the gospel lifts people out of poverty. The greatest poverty of all is to be morally bankrupt and guilty before You with a debt of sin you can never pay. This bankruptcy is common to the entire human race, and we thank You that Jesus paid the debt for us, and we can go free if we are willing to accept it. You promised that one day, this creation will end and a new one will come in its place, one free from sin and its effects. Death will be no more. Sadness and sickness will be gone. Poverty in every sense will end. Until that day, I pray that You open our eyes to see ways we can minister to the poor and needy not just with our checkbooks, but with our hearts. Help our congregation root out those in our church and local communities who are in need of Your love and assistance that we can serve. I pray that you lead us to not only care for their practical needs, but transform their lives, and ours through Your eternal mercy, love, and salvation. Amen