Blessed are the Poor?
"Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute." - Psalm 82:3
I always find it jarring that Jesus proclaims in his famous sermon, "Blessed are the poor." He doesn't say, "Blessed are those that give to the poor," but simply "Blessed are the poor." For those of us who think we have it all in this life, Jesus reminds us that we often lack what those with the least have innately. In this upside down, or rather right side up Kingdom that Jesus establishes, the rules are different. Humility is more valuable and lasting than pride or arrogance. Vulnerability is more valuable than masquerading as something you're not.
The destitute and downtrodden catch a glimpse of this new Kingdom and this new way of life, way before the respectable, the religious, or the political figures of Jesus' time. Respectable people often compromise principles in order to retain power. And they do this because they think that's where life, that is truly life, is found. I remember the look on Elijah's birth mom's face the first time we met her. I remember my wife's first raw and somehow perfect words. My wife, Camille, said, "I'm so nervous, I think I'm about to throw up." The presence of God was as real in that meeting space in the Department of Social Services as I've ever experienced. Everyone realized the gravity of the situation. A young "poor" pregnant woman sat with us and decided to entrust us with her most valued treasure. She entrusted us with a son who was still growing in her womb. In an act of selfless surrender, Elijah's birth mom chose to give us the privilege of adopting our youngest son.
In our culture, poverty correlates to a lack of power and wealth. But in the Kingdom of God, poverty is directly correlated to the inability to love. Elijah's birth mom, we found was not really poor at all. In an act of great love, she showed us the beauty of true riches. She loved her birth son enough to make a very difficult decision, and we have tried to emulate her love in the way that we live.
So I'm curious, what lessons of love have you been taught by those whom the world often overlooks?