August 30, 2017

The Poor Always With Us?

August 30, 2017

Daily Readings
Psalm 8
Exodus 2:15b-22
Psalm 18:1-3, 20-32
Isaiah 28:14-22
This week’s sermon text: Matthew 26:6-13

Field Notes
My wife called, “I don’t know whether to be happy or sad? A car dealership just called about a church member who bought us a car.”

Because this church member was manic-depressive, I asked the dealer to delay finalizing the transaction the next day so arrangements could be made to help him.

The church member asked us to supper at Hardees. We went. He told me that I had helped him more than any other person. Thus, out of gratitude, he bought me the car.

Some traditions say that this woman in Matthew 26 was the same woman caught in the act of adultery recorded in John 8. They say that she was so appreciative of what Jesus did for her in giving her new life, new dignity, and new purpose for living that she just had to give Jesus the best she had. It’s natural to want to give back to someone who has been so good, so loving, and so kind to us.

The disciples are angry at her gift and call it a waste. “That could have been sold and done some good by giving it to the poor,” they said. Then Jesus makes this cryptic statement, “The poor you have with you always, but you will not always have me.”

For years, this confused me. Why would Jesus care more about himself than the poor, especially when in the previous chapter he emphasizes the need to help the weak, the least, the last, and the lost. Finally, a wise pastor said, “It’s simple. The lady has me now and she pours extravagant love on me now. After I’m gone, you can still poor extravagant love on me because you’ll find me among the poor. Remember what I just taught you, that whenever you’ve done it to the least of these, you’ve done it to me.”

While we did not take the car, our church and I poured out our love toward the man who wanted to buy the car for me. In the process loving him, we felt as if we were helping Jesus.

Questions for the Field

  • Who helped you in such a generous way that you simply had to pour lavish love on the person in return?
  • When have you helped another and in the process discovered you were helping Jesus?

Family Field Talk

  • Share a time when you were so appreciative of someone helping you that you wanted to do something special for them in return?
  • Is there someone you would like to help today as a way of saying “thank you”?

Prayer Guide
Most loving and generous God, you give us so much. You even died for us on a cross. Thank you for our lives, our families, our opportunities. Thank you for supporting us during the trying times of our lives as well. Lord, in what way might we show our thanks to you today? Please show us throughout the day. In your gracious name I pray. Amen.