This past Friday night, in spite of having to wait out threatening storms, high school football in Texas was in full swing. But it’s not the state of the art stadiums that impressed me, it’s the passion expressed before school started to make sure that each student from the youngest to the oldest had all the supplies and clothes they needed to start another year.
From backpacks, to pencils, to paper, and pens—churches and other organizations challenged their members to generously give. A pastor near where I teach at Southern Bible did far more. He got hundreds of adult men to volunteer to step into the lives of young men at Carter High School who needed someone to come alongside and come to their school events or help them with their assignments.
Read any of the Gospels for five minutes and it’s clear that Jesus cares about those in need. We can’t pretend to have him in our lives without demonstrating his compassion by meeting concrete needs. But what’s amazing about this need to care for the oppressed is that it is one of the most important means to guarantee that an economy will be sustained.
Powerful leaders can sit in luxury, enjoy their places of prestige for a time, but if they pridefully think they are the reason for success, if they stop caring and giving, and especially if they fail to treat the needy with respect and dignity, they will not stay in power for long. This was the fatal mistake King Nebuchadnezzar made at the zenith of his power. His kingdom seemed invincible, but his arrogance had caught the attention of heaven. Check out what Daniel had to say to Nebuchadnezzar after explaining the meaning of his dream.
“The tree that you saw that became great and prevailed, whose height reached the heavens, with beautiful foliage, filled with abundant fruit, and visible anywhere on earth, providing food for all, giving shelter to the beasts of the field, and providing nesting places in its branches for the birds of the sky—you, O king, are that tree!
You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion to the ends of the earth. But then you, O king, saw an observant messenger, a holy one, coming down from the heaven, and saying, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump, bound with iron and bronze, in the grass of the field while its roots remain in the ground. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live with the beasts of the field until seven times pass by upon him.’ This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord, the king.
You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals, you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of the heaven until seven times pass by upon you, until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes. The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules. Therefore, O king, receive my counsel. Wipe away your sin by doing what is right, and your iniquity by showing mercy to the oppressed. Maybe your prosperity can be prolonged.’” Daniel 4:20-27
LORD, thanks for Brian Carter’s mentoring program at Concord Church in Oak Cliff and thanks that many of our civil and church leaders here in Midlothian keep generating back to school supply programs, food banks, and mentoring to try to make sure that every child in our community is cared for and loved. Use Daniel to continue to teach me that my faith in the Messiah Jesus must be expressed in caring for and defending those who are oppressed. This isn’t a side program. It’s the key to sustaining prosperity.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!