Two weeks ago, we listened to Jason Miles talk about Mary, Martha and Lazarus in John, Chapter 11 (see Sew Powerful Podcast, Episode 67). Today, Jason moves on to John, Chapter 12 and introduces several Biblical references to the poor and caring for those living in poverty, including Deuteronomy 15, Galatians 2, Acts 2 and Isaiah 61. But Jason also quotes the New York Times and plays a clip from a local Los Angeles TV station. He reminds us to find the balance between faith with no action and action with no faith. As always, Jason includes great contemporary stories to illustrate the lessons he finds in scripture.
Jesus, People, and the Poor with Jason Miles
IN THIS EPISODE
churches that forgive medical debt, Don Schoendorfer founder of Free Wheelchair Mission, Gary Haugen founder of International Justice Mission, what is nard, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, feeding the homeless in Seattle, what are different types of poverty, finding balance between caring and community
New York Times, November 20, 2020
International Justice Mission
Free Wheelchair Mission
Bible References: John 12: 1-8; Isiah 61:1-11; Deuteronomy 15:11; Galatians 2:9-10; Acts 2: 45-47
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The Sew Powerful Podcast shines a light on the people behind the mission to keep girls in school and create purposeful products in Zambia. Join us every week for a new 30-minute episode to meet new people, hear inspiring stories, and learn how you can join us in this global movement. Whether you sew or not, make purses or not, you will find something to enjoy in every episode. Listen today.
Host: Jan Cancila
Guest: Jason Miles
From Video Clips: Pastor, Tom Hughes and LA TV Newsperson
Jason Miles, Guest 00:00
This is a brand new thing that's just happening last two years. Here's a story from the New York Times. I'll just read a little bit for you. Vanessa Mattos couldn't believe what she was reading. I was like, "Okay, this is a scam," she recalled of the letter she received in February. Her husband said the same thing, "Yeah, this isn't real." But it was real. Mattos, her medical debt was more than $900 and she owed it because of complication from a surgery. And it had been forgiven completely by strangers at a church she had never been to. Adam Aubrey, the lead pastor of the congregation (it's in the Boston area) said, "It doesn't take a theologian to connect the dots. Jesus paid my debt," and sorry, "Jesus paid my debt at unbelievable cost to himself. So, I probably it probably makes sense for me to pay another person's debt at some degree of cost to myself." Isn't that cool?
Jan Cancila, Host 01:11
Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know, the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So, let's get started. today's podcast is entitled Jesus, People, and the Poor. It's a talk Jason Miles, co-founder of Sew Powerful, gave at his church in July of 2021, where he continues discussing John, Chapter 12. This entertaining, interesting, very well researched conversation will delight you, inform you, and inspire you. Please listen to Jason Miles.
PK has been leading us with messages through the gospel of John and his honor speak a couple weeks ago. So, I'm gonna continue the theme here and go through more interesting verses in the Gospel of John. So, if you have your Bible or Bible app, turn with me to John, Chapter 12. I have it printed out here, so I'll read a bit of it. I entitled this message Jesus-People and the Poor. And then Cinnamon said if proper English should be Jesus comma People and the Poor, but it's two different topics. I think I'm gonna lean into the Jesus people and the poor. How many of you would consider yourself a Jesus person? We're the Jesus-people, okay. And so, we're going to talk about this wonderful passage. John, Chapter 12. I'll read a little bit of it to us. Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. And here a dinner was given in Jesus's honor. Martha served, which was her personality. While Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, which you can buy on Amazon for $9, by the way, I looked. But back in the day, it was really, really rare and expensive. And she poured it out on Jesus's feet, wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of the disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray Jesus, objected, "Why wasn't this perfume sold, and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." And let's just say for a day labor that 300 dunerii in the original language, and so that would be I guess, maybe a four years wages at let's just say, I don't know, what do you want to $15 an hour. And for a day labor, that's what it was called. And so that's about $30,000 in today's money, so that is a massive, massive gift. Anyway, he didn't say this, because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief. As keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. And Jesus responds in chapter uh verse seven and says, "Leave her alone. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. And you will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me." Such a fascinating little encounter and little story. There's so much here for us to dig into. Jesus was doing a lot. And so a lot is going into this that I think we can kind of learn from. This phrase let's just dive into a little bit of the Jesus thing. Have you ever ever seen those memes? Wait, are there, okay? Those memes where somebody burns someone else with a total comeback, and they were these Ray Ban glasses? This is like a thing on the internet, and it has lightning bolts that shoot at the other person. Well, you might not know it, but Jesus was doing a real like, lightning bolt response to in response to this, these comments because when he said you will always have the poor among you, that's a direct take from Deuteronomy chapter 15. Now they would know that. They would know that he was referencing an Old Testament commandment to care for the poor. And so, Jesus is not only telling them to basically shut up, but also correcting the the reality of their insincerity, and saying, you actually will take care of the poor; you're commanded to take care of the poor; you're supposed to take care of the poor. But this is a special moment, a special gift that's being given. So, it's kind of an interesting set of topics. We could talk a lot about special gifts, the power, and the beauty of a sacrificial gift. I was just meditating on that this week and thinking about the power of a special gift. How many of you ever been in like a worship setting where you're full on, where you've got your hands all the way over your head, and you are just full on, just immersed in that special moment of worship? Have you been there? We don't always get there in our hearts and minds are spirit, but sometimes when the moment is right, man, that unlocks some really, really meaningful, meaningful power in our lives, and closeness to the Lord.
Clearly, that was a moment like this for Mary, where she was, she was in a special moment. Now she didn't know it. They didn't. And in the moment of the story, they didn't know that that Judas was gonna just betray Jesus a little bit later. And the disciple, you know, Peter would deny the Lord three times. All the disciples were basically going to scatter. But for that moment, in that in that special space, she had a super, super powerful act of sacrificial worship, and giving. And I think it's fair, if you read the stories about Mary and Martha and Lazarus, these three siblings, they the, if you read all about the kind of Bible Commentary, it's like, they're pretty much everybody agrees, these were siblings, and their dad was a guy named Simon the leper, people think that it's implied. And so, the idea here could be we're just sort of extrapolating the pulling in the ideas together that it could have been that Simon the leper, the dad, had passed away, that Martha was sort of the boss of the house. And that Lazarus, the brother had died, but then raised but then Mary was really the one with this worshipful heart. And it was it an inheritance she received of, you know, this special perfume that was worth $30,000? I don't know. But that could make sense. And there she was, with this special special gift that she gave to the Lord. And I think the question for us is in the moment, when do we have times in our life that are that are like that. It's not every day. But there are special times when we have an opportunity to do something really special and give above and beyond all out to the Lord. And this is one of those times. So, I think it's important for us to understand what Jesus is...what was it, come back? What do you call that? When people do like an epic, epic burn, epic comeback? I don't know what you call it. But do the internet memesters know any of those phrases? Is it a comeback? retort, A retort. I'm looking at the youngest people in the room because they know these YouTube meme things. No, not Dana.
Deuteronomy Chapter 15, says this: If a poor person is among you or one of your brothers, in any of your towns in the land which your Lord gives you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from the poor brother, but you shall fully open your hand to him and generously lend to him enough for his needs, for what he needs, whatever he lacks. And then it goes on in verse 9 to say be careful that no mean-spirited thought enters your heart. And it goes on from there. And he says in verse 10, you shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grudging, when you give, because for this thing, the Lord your God will bless you, in all your work and in all your undertakings. For the poor will not cease among you, that's the phrase that Jesus use. In your land, therefore, I'm commanding you, you shall fully open your hand to your brother, and to your needy and poor in your land. What a powerful, like just insert, you know, into the commentary in the moment that these guys would know that passage, and would realize that that was their the conviction that Christ was speaking into their commentary.
I think our hearts can get hard hearted towards giving in a lot of ways. And we can be tight fisted, that phrase from Deuteronomy, in a lot of ways. We can give for a lot of wrong motives. We can give for personal financial gain, we can give for power, we can give her control, we can give, because it gives us a sense of like a Messiah Complex in a bad way. Like we're the hero, we're the the Savior type thing. On and on, there's a lot of ways in which giving can be wrong. We can also look at people who do the act of you know, caring, the big act of worship, the big generous thing with a judgmental attitude. It's interesting in Deuteronomy that it says to, to guard your heart so that you don't have a mean spirit, or a mean thought in your heart.
I'm, have you ever heard of that Myers Briggs personality type thing? I'm INTJ and the J is for judging. So I'm really good at being critical. And seeing other things and just immediately going into like, you know, critique mode. And, and the direction of the Lord here is to say, to be careful not to do that, when you see people giving generously, or doing something that's a really courageous a really big act of worship and service. And, and I think it's important for all of us to be careful not to do not to, to have that mindset, where we see other people and we just immediately critique or judge, it's so easy. Be honest, has anybody done that other people's ministry? And you're like, wow, yeah, that's good, but dadadada da. We need to guard our heart against that.
So how then should we live? What should we do in light of this passage, and Jesus' instruction? Deuteronomy says we should be open handed and responsive. So, on the one hand, we could be callous and tight fisted. On the other hand, we could be open handed, and responsive, really caring. I think it's important for us to grapple with these ideas. And I think part of being open handed and responsive is realizing that there are reasons why poverty exists, you know, this phrase is so common, the poor, you always have with you. People would like quote that in society, people, that's sort of a, a phrase that you might hear occasionally. And sometimes we hear it as a defense against doing works of service or, you know, you hear an idea of doing something you're like, well, the poor will always have with us so maybe we won't do that this time. But the truth is, there are reasons why there's poverty in communities. There, I think there are five valid reasons why poverty exists, personal choices and decisions, or at the top of the list or on the list. There are things that people do that are just messed up. But then there are also choices other people make that impact someone else. We do things that are corrupt; we do things that are evil, or the society does. And people are impacted by that.
Jason Miles 14:20
Choices other people make. What's an example of that? I remember this one example. There's a ministry, International Justice Mission, and what they do is they go and that so here's the origin story of it. In a lot of countries, Southeast Asia, other places, certainly in the US as well, local charities will know about illegal sex trafficking and you know that girls are being victimized and that whole under you know, like, horrible part of what's happening in societies. But the charities couldn't can't actually like, you know, Okay, no disrespect at all. But imagine Cindy knowing about such things and written and her and going and confronting the people running that. Like, they'll be like, no way, right? Like, and so there was these charity workers who knew about these things occurring in these communities, but they felt powerless to actually intervene because they their lives would be threatened because in many contexts, the police were involved and was like a racket where they were covering for all this horrible victimization of these girls. And so these charities got together at one point and said, "We got to figure out something." And so, they found a guy who was the Rwandan genocide, United Nations Inspector, I guess you could say, or he looked into the whole war crimes thing there. And they said, "Look, we got this problem with international sex trafficking, and we can't have our, you know, our charity workers going in and confronting these, these these situations. And so why don't we create something where you're empowered to go and bring the heat, bring the law, you know, bring bring righteousness." And so, Gary Haugens, that guy's name, and International Justice Mission was set up for him to go and his team to do that. And they literally just started bringing down these horrible, corrupt situations where people in communities were obviously bringing tremendous harm to these to these girls. Culture can hurt people. And so IJM is a great example of a ministry that makes a difference.
I'm reminded of RCC [Renton Christian Church] when I think about this stuff. You know, in 2006, there was HIV AIDS response work that was incredibly needed. And this church, this youth group stepped up. Did the first ever kit build happened here? And then we went on from there for a caregiver kit program, if you're new to this story, haven't heard it before, there were about 77,000 caregivers that World Vision had, that didn't have supplies to do any caring work for people, in essence in hospice situation from HIV AIDS. And these caregivers were praying for people. They were helping with bathing and, and that kind of thing and food, but they didn't have any supplies. And so the call was made for like, Can we supply these caregivers. And so, the first event where we pulled together items happened here in this youth group. Dana was leading the charge. And then from there 441,000 caregiver kits happened over the next 10 years from 2006 to 2016. Is that amazing? From this place, this place. Yeah. Yeah. And and it's a beautiful testimony to I think what is fair to say, is an anointing on this community. of, of seeing needs and responding, I think it's fair to say that's one of the giftings of this church.
Sew Powerful, has been incredibly blessed, our charity, by all of you participating in helping us collect the purses that help girls stay in school. This year, our goal, our goal is 24,000 beneficiaries in Zambia. We have 63 people on staff, and the first purse packing event happened at Toby and Janairie's home group. And we and that was in 2000, into 2014. And so tomorrow, some of you will be helping us fulfill that that mission. Just amazing, huge blessing.
Um, I also, since they're not here, I'll mention it. And I can just kind of tell the whole story. But you know, Ishmael, doing the night feeding program. I don't know if you guys even know about this. But I heard about the youth group doing some work in support of homeless folks in the community. And I don't know about you, but how many of you have just felt a burden for the homeless crisis that's happening in the greater Seattle area? Anybody feel that way? Just like, What is happening? And it's like, what do you do with that? What do we personally do? How do we respond? And so, when I heard that the youth group was making meals for the night shelter, I was like, what's happening now? And then, as I learned more, I learned that Ishmael Ismov started doing this in response to that burden on his heart. Correct me on all the details here if you guys want, that are part of this, but he started doing this and I when I heard about it, I was like, that is awesome. And so then, at one point I, I said, who’s paying for all the food? Like they're packing 100 meals a couple times a month. And then I get stories back every time my kids come to help. Then I asked more questions. And then I heard Well, he, Ishmael is buying all the food himself. How old is he? His birthday was yesterday. He's 19. And so, I was like, he's buying all the food? The church isn't buying the food? No. Is his dad buying the food? No. So I gave Libby $100. I said, Give this to Ishmael. Well, next time you go, and so then she came home. And I was like, how's the event? She was like, great. She's like, here's your $100 back. I was like, 'What?' She said he said he didn't want your money. Now, I know this is a good story because what she said he's paying for himself. And so, then I talked to his dad, and I and I said, Baktier, what's going on with this, this, you know, night feeding program? Ishmael won't take my money. How is he buying all this food? He said, he won't take my money either. I said, you're not paying for this? He was like, No, I'm not paying for it. And I just like, Man, that is just a beautiful, beautiful expression from this congregation. Did you guys know that was happening? Everybody already knew this? Oh, well, we should applaud for Ishmael, should we? I think it's awesome. And I think it's an example of how churches can step up creatively. And again, I really do believe it's a special superpower of this church, that there's something about our efforts together, where we are open, in our heart and mind. And and I think that's really, really a beautiful expression.
I I know that a response to compassion ministries, and to efforts to serve the poor, a critical response, or maybe just maybe it's right, but a response can be what about the proclamation of the gospel? What about presenting the claims of Christ and asking people to to accept the Lord? And I really when when I and I think it's a fair question, and the way I was thinking about it was, and this is where your, your dream about Cleo comes in. The vision in my mind was, I don't know. Those exercise balls where you can stand on both sides of it, but it's a ball, but there's like, extendy leg things on each side. And it makes you, you know, like, balance. It's like a balance. And what I what I had in my mind was the proclamation of the gospel, to present the claims of Christ and ask people to commit their life to Him to, to repent of their sins, to, to lay down their burdens at the cross and to accept the salvation of the Lord is, is on the one side. And on the other side, is the presentation of the amazing love and the outflowing of incredible generosity; the special gifts, like Mary did, the crazy good ones, that people would be like, What? What is happening? And I think it's like one of those balance things where, What is our call? What is our responsibility as believers? We got to be balanced. And you know, in any one of those types of devices, the simplest thing to do is just flop over. Right? And it's kind of like that with the church broadly, I think the church in the United States or whatever. It's really easy to just flop over to one, oh, we just flop into proclaiming the gospel, we don't do that compassionate stuff. Or you flop over to the other one, oh, we serve our community real good. But we don't, you know, call people to repent. And I think that discipline of the body is to say, Can we be balanced right in the middle? Where we, on the one hand, we're strong, and on the other hand, we're strong, and if we can, and that's hard work, isn't it? And that's like, that's why they have those devices so that you're, you can tell I'm very fit. I don't use one of those devices myself. My core would probably hate me if I did, but but you get the idea. Right? Is that a good? And so I you know, I overheard you just saying your dream last night about Cleo was that she was leading an exercise class in heaven. I was like, oh, that kind of fits. She's leading an exercise class in Heaven. That's beautiful. Maybe they even got those things. I don't know. We need to be balanced in it. It's got to be both right? It can't be one of the other; it needs to be both. Can I get an amen?
I think the other thing that we need to remember is that there are lots of different types of poverty. I think there's relational poverty. I don't know why but sometimes in churches, you can just walk right by people and not even say hi or ask who their name is. I did that this morning. And I felt so guilty. Like, how do we like how many people are even here? How do we not all know each other? But somehow, we don't all know each other. Sometimes relational poverty can affect even groups of believers. That's not healthy, right? So relational poverty is real. You can have vocational problem, poverty. You know, our program in Zambia is designed to help ladies get job skills, so that they can provide for their own family. And that vocational step up, that opportunity for them to step into a good job, or they have a good employer, a clean, happy environment with good coworkers with consistent pay. That's a huge, huge, huge gift. There's spiritual poverty obviously. Kevin, you mentioned this morning, people who have never heard the grace and mercy of our God. There's physical poverty; there's financial poverty; there's legal poverty; there are people who don't have justice. There's time poverty, environmental poverty, there's mental poverty, there's a lot of ways in which the poor will always be among us. And that just means I think, a lot of ways in which we can serve.
Jason Miles 26:41
I was I was just preparing for this message, I stumbled into this new thing that's happening. I didn't even I've never heard of this until yesterday. So, if it's a scam, forgive me. No, it's not a scam. I looked into it. Actually, I want to show a video of what churches are doing in the last year and a half, two years, churches around the country are doing this new thing. You guys may have seen all these clips and stories. But I saw these stories in we have a clip from CNN but we have a story in the New York Times, a story in USA Today, a story in Christianity today. Why don't we just show this video clip? If we can do the video clip first and then I'll tell more.
TV Newsperson 27:24
People in LA, they're learning of their medical debt has been wiped out clean with no strings attached. Can you imagine? A church is giving more than $5 million to pay it all off.
Pastor Tom Hughes 27:38
Because of the generosity of the people of Christian Assembly Church, we are able to give a Christmas gift to the people of Los Angeles. No strings attached. But because of your generosity for the people of Christina Assembly, we are canceling all of the unpaid medical debt, $5.3 million as a Christmas gift to all of the poor in all 28 neighborhoods. This gift is going to impact 5555 households in our area.
TV Newsperson 28:10
Incredible! That was pastor Tom Hughes. His Church partnered with a nonprofit group to make all of this happen. Great gift.
Jason Miles 28:18
Isn't that amazing? Have you guys heard of that before? This is a brand-new thing that's just happening last two years. Here's a story from the New York Times. I'll just read a little bit for you. Vanessa Mattos couldn't believe what she was reading. I was like, "Okay, this is a scam," she recalled of the letter she received in February. Her husband said the same thing, "Yeah, this isn't real." But it was real. Mattos, her medical debt was more than $900 and she owed it because of complication from a surgery. And it had been forgiven completely by strangers at a church she had never been to. Adam Aubrey, the lead pastor of the congregation said, it's in the Boston area, said, "It doesn't take a theologian to connect the dots. Jesus paid my debt. And, sorry, Jesus paid my debt at unbelievable cost to himself. So I probably it probably makes sense for me to pay another person's debt, at some degree of cost to myself." Isn't tht cool? And the organization they're doing this with is, I looked it up, I was like, What is this? Is it a Christian ministry? What is it? Well, it's these two debt, medical debt collectors that had 20 years of industry experience. And they quit and founded a charity and the charity, just what they do, they're smart business guys. They buy the debt from the whoever holds it at pennies on the dollar. It's like they're basically buying a file of large, you know, like delinquent debts. And they buy them and just forgive them. And the recipient doesn't owe taxes; there's no negative or downside to the recipients. And so they were chugging along for a couple years. And then churches started saying, "Can we do this at scale?" And the churches started doing this, like buying whole counties of people's debt portfolio and forgiving it. And so that clip from was from Southern California, this story that I'm pointing out here was from the New York Times, there's another one from USA Today. Same thing. And then this one. A church paid off all the medical debt in New Mexico. All of it. And, yeah, all the available medical debt; they got it; bought it by portfolio; forgave it all. Is that crazy cool? That is awesome. And this is like in the last year and a half these big churches have started to do this. And this charity has just started to flow, because these churches are doing this. So, I emailed them yesterday, and I asked how much is the portfolio value of the outstanding medical debt in King County and Pierce County [in Washington state]? I have no idea. But it's just an interesting idea. Like (oh-oh) I'm not doing a fundraising pitch right now. I'm just saying, would it be crazy cool if this church I'm just I'm just saying what are some church said, Hey, King County, all the medical debt that's on the books, gone because Jesus loves you. Yeah, this these ladies, this lady that got this letter, she got the letter that said the church, people from this church forgave your debt. That is heavy. So, I just want to challenge us to continue to think about the ways in which we can have an open heart and open hand and present the goodness of God in our community. Amen. Are you getting it? I'm seeing some some lights going on. Is this resonating? resonating?
Yeah, I want to tell one more story. And it's a good one. And Dana can correct me on the details. There was this one guy heard about one time, Free Wheelchair Mission. And Don shore for nif nifer knifer. door for... Schoendorfer And so so this is the little slide of the wheelchair, I think there's an image in there. He went on a trip in 1979. And he, I think it was into India, and he saw people crawling on the ground because they didn't have any crutches, or wheelchairs, and they were they had lost their limbs or they were paralyzed or, and they had sometimes they would have little shims like little little boards that they would, you know, use to you know, protect themselves, but they would just use their hands. And, and that image, he just could not get out of his mind. Just, it was just stuck in his mind. And and so he went through his career, and but for years, he couldn't get it out of his mind. Do you have that image? It's not in the deck, maybe it is I don't know. Oh, it's not sorry. And so finally, he started tinkering in his garage. I'll describe it to you. What he made was one of those white resin lawn chairs with wheels on it as his first prototype. And it only cost like 40 bucks. And um, and this was his first attempt at trying to help people who who could not you know, didn't have the gift of mobility as he calls it. And so um, so he started making these. And he started making them at scale. He was like an MIT graduate guy or whatever, but like an engineer. And so, he started making these. Well, they were so what you might call "homemade," that even the World Health Organization told them to stop doing them. I'm pretty sure that's kind of right. And so, he got shut down by the United Nations because it was too I don't know homemade, whatever; too scrappy. And he didn't give up. He didn't give up and he kept working on it; kept working on it; kept working on it. And, and then figured figured out how to do a like a flat pack design made in China that comes in a box and you know, you can just open it and and they've now done millions and millions and millions of these wheelchairs through Free Wheelchair Mission and they're presenting the gift of ability to people. Praise God. Amen. Amen. That's a nice one. Yeah.
I think there are a lot of opportunities for us to take the instruction Jesus gave to those disciples, the poor you will always have with you, and to reflect on it in our own life and say, how can we balance the presentation of the gospel with the grace and mercy of compassion, and ministry that makes a difference in people's lives? Obviously, Jesus was saying he was not going to always be with them. We all know the New Testament narrative. Jesus left by His death, burial and resurrection on the cross, and then ascension to heaven. But he promised the comforter. And in the New Testament, what you see is the disciples, radically embracing both community and caring. And second chapter of Acts, the account is that they were in one accord. They were worshipping daily, they were eating together, which we're really good at. And they sold their possessions and gave them to the poor. And the Lord added to the church, daily, those that were being saved. The New Testament is filled with accounts of caring and compassion. You know, there's another scripture that Paul refers to when it's in Galatians, chapter 9. He says, when he met with James and Peter, and John, this is the Apostle Paul. And there was a big meetup, because you know, he was sort of different. He was real different. But when they met, he describes it in Galatians, chapter 9, it says, When I met with those esteem, pillars of the faith, they gave me aBarnabas as my right hand. And they gave us the right hand of fellowship, sorry, when they recognize the grace given to me, they agreed that we would go to the Gentiles and that they would go to the circumcised, which is a reference to the Israelis, the Jewish people. In verse 10, it says, all they ask, imagine this, you got James and Peter and John, those disciples that had been through all of it and had come out, and we're now leading the church, but they met with with Paul and he was sort of this crazy upstart. But all they asked was one thing. You know what it was?
Sorry, I'm looking for my notes, all the asked..sorry verse 10. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor. It was the very thing I had been eager to do all along, Paul said. So this is baked into the DNA of the New Testament. It's baked into the DNA of the apostles. It's baked into the DNA of the Christian church for centuries. And it's baked into the DNA of us here at RCC. Amen. Amen.
Well, I want to finish with just a common reference that we'll all be familiar with. And it's Isaiah 61. I believe this is true for us today as a group. And here it is: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim the good news to the poor. He's sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom from for the captives and to release from darkness for prisoners to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all who mourn, and to provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planning of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the place as long devastating, and they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards and you will be called priests of the Lord. You will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the Wealth of Nations and in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame, you'll receive a double portion and instead of disgrace, you'll rejoice in your inheritance. And so, you will inherit a double portion in your hand and everlasting joy will be yours. For I the Lord love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness, I will reward my people and make everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the people. All who see them will acknowledge that they're the people, the Lord has blessed. I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me of the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest. And as a bride adorns herself with jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up, and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. Can I get an amen?
I want to just close this morning by having all of us just take our hands together like this, and I want to lead us sort of a little thing. We don't need to do a song at the end. I want us to think about this Mary gift; this $30,000 gift. And I want to think, have us think about what would be a special gift in our life. And it doesn't need to be money, could be money, but it doesn't need to be money. But it could be time, it could be something special. Could be your inheritance, or keepsake. Maybe you got something amazing laying around or maybe it's just prayer time, but hold something in your hands. Go ahead. Let's do it. And I want us to just lay it down before the Lord as I pray. Is that all right? So you just you just do that and I'm just going to pray over us to finish.
Lord, we come to you today. And we're so grateful for the guidance of your scripture, for instruction from stories like this one with Mary, giving such a special gift. And Lord, we're so grateful for your amazing instruction, to remember the poor, to be open handed, and to be responsive to the needs of others. And Father, we just lay down these things that we hold dear. And Lord, we lay them at your feet, we give them to you today. And Father, we just ask that you would take our little, our little gifts, our little acts of service. And you would do something to bring light and healing and hope and deliverance and justice and grace and faith to this community and to our world. And Lord, we're believing in you for it. We know that we can't do it on our own. We know that it's not just through acts of compassion. It's by your Holy Spirit, that you draw people to yourself and Lord, we're believing for that as we lay down these gifts at your feet. We asked all this today in Christ's name. And everyone said with me. Amen. Thanks everybody.
If what you've heard today inspires you to want to make a difference. I urge you to explore the Sew Powerful website at www.SewPowerful.org that's SEWPOWERFUL dot ORG. The website has great information about the organization. It's where you can download the free purse patterns or even make a donation. We hope you will join us again next week when we bring you another Sew Powerful story. Thanks for listening. Now, go out and have a Sew Powerful day
ABOUT THE HOST
Jan Cancila has been making purses for Sew Powerful since 2014. She serves the organization as Director, Global Volunteerism, the Area Manager for Shows and Events-Mid/South USA and as the Houston Regional Coordinator. She was a public speaking major at Hanover College and holds an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University. Jan had a 25-year career with The Coca-Cola Company before owning and operating a linen and party rental business in Houston. She is married with two grown sons, a lovely daughter-in-law and two remarkable granddaughters. Jan’s published work includes more than 100 online articles for Examiner.com. Reach Jan with comments or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.