The Pope and the Poor

Read: Luke 10:25-37  (Click text to read passage)

Last week white smoke rolled out of the Vatican to signify that a new Pope had been elected for the Catholic Church. As the ceremonies continued throughout the week we learned that this new Pope was going to take the name Pope Francis after the patron saint Francis of Assisi.

It’s hard to judge anyone from one week in a position but this Pope does seem to truly have a heart for the poor and outcast in the world. That was at the heart of Francis of Assisi’s life (1181-1226) as well. History records that he once joined the poor in begging outside of St. Peter’s Basilica in order to better understand their situation.

I am not Catholic but I do know that my savior Jesus had a tender and compassionate heart for the poor and outcast when he walked on this earth. His parable in Luke 10 about the “Good Samaritan” is a perfect example of that compassion. His basic message in that parable was, “Don’t walk by on the other side of the road when you see someone in need.”

Christians around the world have done many wonderful things throughout history for those who are outcast and needy. Many who have been blessed with wealth have given of that wealth to help provide food, shelter, clothing, and more for those who are less fortunate. Others have sacrificed time and comforts to be the hands and feet that deliver those provisions.

Perhaps this new Pope’s attitude toward the poor can remind us once again of Jesus’ example. Maybe we should ask ourselves what we are doing with our money, our time, and our compassion to help others who are in need. It’s often easy to be judgmental when we are not in their shoes, but if we would put ourselves in their position like Saint Francis did perhaps we would see things differently.

Each day we are probably faced with the “other side of the road” scenario. Let’s be aware of it when it comes and follow the example of Jesus. Cross over the road, lend a helping hand, and provide help to someone from your blessings and abundance. The Lord will bless you when you bless others!

Make it personal: There are many wonderful organizations out there to give to in order to help those in need. Mennonite Central Committee, World Vision, Compassion International. Find one, two, or three to support monthly if that is what the Lord leads you to do. Find ways to serve those in need that allows you to develop a relationship with them and better understand their struggles. Finally, be watching for that person on the other side of the road that may need your help.”

Have a blessed week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church