Lately I was shown a status update on someone’s Facebook that said “Just got back from feeding the poor, feeling great, I was created for this.”
I am positive, that if I was following the feeds of the youth kids coming back from a youth night, their updates would have read something like “Just got back from worshiping at youth group, feeling great, I was created for this.”
I can’t help but think that maybe,” feeding the poor” has become to the new “going to church.” For some reason, the motivation feels all wrong still. My problems with the weekly gathering as a pump up service that leaves me feeling extra excited about things I already believe are plentiful. I think I would have the same problems if churches replaces the Sunday service with serving at a soup kitchen. There is still very much a lack of sacrifice, challenge, reality and meaning that goes with a ritual like this that does nothing more than boost up the attenders self esteem.
If you search through the stories where we are told to give to or feed the poor, in almost every single case it is prefaced with selling all your possessions and giving the money to the poor. Somehow we replaced this idea with giving the poor our extras and a few hours a week. Simply giving the poor your monday morning to hand them food that you may or may not have purchased is missing the entire point of “serving the poor.” There is an obvious call to equality in commands that say to sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor. If you were to actually do this, you would become poor. The point isn’t to help the poor nearly as much as it is to subvert the system so that you are no longer in a position to help the poor. The command, when actually followed, leaves everyone in the same boat; poor.
Go to church, feed the poor on your day off, tithe your 10%…these are all healthy disciplines, but they all point to a reality that exists in the Kingdom of God. The point is never to treat these things as the end goal but as disciplines so we can better identify with Jesus’ life.