Deciding For Dignity
“Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; You do not give him up to the will of his enemies. The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness You restore him to full health.”
– Psalm 41:1-3
Poverty will always be with us in this life. In the early Chruch, the first believers “were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” (Acts 12:45). Jesus reminds us, “For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them . . .” (Mark 14:7) Caring for the poor and the disadvantaged is part of our faith-walk. James encourages us, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (James 2:15-16)
The psalmist demonstrated caring for the poor. But, he goes a step further. David instructs that we should “consider the poor”, and in doing so, we will be blessed. Considering, as well as caring. The Message says it this way, “Dignify those who are down on their luck”. Again, James warns us, “For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:2-4)
Consideration over contempt. Dignity over dishonor. Respect over rejection. Preference over partiality.
Extending this kind of grace allows to experience this kind of grace. The psalmist reminds us that when we face our own “day of trouble”, we will be blessed.
God Will Be Our Rescuer. David writes, “the Lord delivers him”. (Ps 41:1) The book of Job reminds us, “He will deliver you from six troubles; in seven no evil shall touch you.” (Job 5:19). The Apostle Paul testified, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:18).
In showing dignity over dishonor, we are delivered.
God Will Be Our Resistence. David encourages us, “the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; You do not give him up to the will of his enemies.” (Ps 41:2) Solomon shares with us, “He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.” (Proverbs 2:7-8)
In showing preference over partiality, we are protected.
God Will Be Our Restorer. David writes, “The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness You restore him to full health.” (Ps 41:3). Showing preference to those who are poor is praise to our God. The prophet Jeremiah assures us, “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.” (Jeremiah 17:14)
In showing consideration over contempt, we are comforted.
We always have the poor . . . we honor the poor . . . we praise Him.