God has created every human being in His image and our everyday work is a way of reflecting His character and serving our neighbor. If that's true, what does that mean for people who cannot find work or provide for their families? In this discussion about everyday work, we need to remember to look past our own situations. God wants us to flourish, but He also wants us to help others flourish—especially those on the edges of society. God calls us to compassion and hope.
In other words, the biblical vision of everyday work calls us to expand the circle. This can be inconvenient, but the potential for impact is huge. We all live in comfort zones and predictable routines, but those habits often isolate us into groups. We live, work and play with the same people. We go to the same places. We help people who look and think like us. If we ever want to address poverty in a real way, these routines must change. Our circles must grow.
How do we, in our individual everyday work contexts, follow Isaiah's call to "[l]earn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed" (Isaiah 1:17)? Do we even know who the oppressed are? If we do, are we doing all that we can with what we have?
Expand the Circle Locally
In this video, George Moss wrestles with the calling of all Christians to care for people in poverty in a way that honors their dignity as the image of God. No matter what our everyday work is, we all have a potential role to play. This intro video sets up the theme "Expand the Circle," which you will explore in video clips 13-16.
Reflect and Discuss
The way we think about and treat people in poverty is critical. The Proverbs make this clear: "Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker" (Proverbs 14:31), and "[w]hoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker" (Proverbs 17:5). Active oppression and passive mockery—both of them tell us more about our hearts toward God than anything else.
In Part 4, Artie Lindsay speaks to how we can "expand the circle" at a local level, beginning with our attitude toward poverty. He opens with a biblical foundation for thinking about poverty, evaluates two common views of poverty and considers its causes. He then explores ways we can expand the circle that affirm the dignity of the people we serve.
Identifying with the poor in our communities is not optional or temporary. It is the ongoing calling of the Church. Although this is not a simple step-by-step process, Artie shares the core views and attitudes that will help this take place.
- What kind of efforts have you participated in to address poverty at a local level? Describe one experience that was especially impactful in your life.