The fat cats push the thin cats around.
And so it goes. Societies, particularly our modern Roman provinces, run on power, money, prestige, while the more important things in life, the kindness and love, often get left by the wayside as markers of weakness. Our societies thrive on a bigger-is-better attitude: on faster, higher, stronger. In short, culture run by antichrists.
And the littlest people get left behind.
Christianity challenges that sentiment. Through Christ, Christianity shows strength is meekness, not brute power; that love is in kindness, not fleshly lust; that reward is in giving, not earthly gain.
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.1 John 2:18 (KJV)
For to give is to sow.
Power to the little people is the enduring strength of love, kindness, forbearance, humility, temperance, hospitality, and a grace under duress.
Power and might alone are not bad (consider Samson), but they tend to produce haughtiness and not humility, and from which they emanate as base, profligate, untrue … where they too often take advantage of or discriminate.
Christianity reverses all that without a reverse discrimination. Christianity still maintains a meritocracy: reward for merit. Christianity rewards that which is profitable, in the broadest sense of that word. But the way it defines merit is also somewhat different.
Christianity is a meritocratic culture less interested, say, in your football league ladder hierarchy, than whether you proffered to the vagrant you walked by this morning that morsel of bread. Yet mainstream culture shows this vast disconnect between the two: between going to the big game and giving to the needy. It is not so much that mainstream culture makes no effort to help the needy, but it is this chasm of a daily disconnect for prizing the unprofitable vanity of selfish spectacle over the personal offering of the basic necessities of life to the poor.
26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.Matthew 23:26-28 (KJV)
Who, today, is the Scribe and Pharisee? Where, today, is the good Samaritan? Which the wicked and adulterous generation?
Merit in God’s eyes and the merit in the eyes of the world, while not always in complete disagreement, are not always superimposed. Priorities gotten wrong. Misplaced anger. Poor execution of a good intent. And on and on. And with merit comes a humility, rather than haughtiness of spirit, with God alone. Consider Samuel. To be blessed is a responsibility to righteousness. To be blessed takes sacrifice.
3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; 4 That the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.1 Samuel 3:3-4 (KJV)
“Here am I.”
Ask not what God can do for you; but ask what you can do for God.
Have you fulfilled the Great Commission? Are you fulfilling the Lord’s commands (or need they be spelled out to you)?
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.Matthew 25:35-36 (KJV)
The littlest people receive succour. The outcast, forgotten, lowly, poor, the incarcerated, get treated with respect. The respect due all life as the outward show of the sanctity of (all) life itself. The desire to put truth and love atop the hierarchy; wealth and gain at the bottom.
The kingdom of God, the will of heaven, is that organic community of individuals who in looking out for themselves are, by their very virtue, looking out for another. We are our brother’s keeper.
Eschew the boasting, the idle chatter, the vain pursuit, the diverse lust of flesh. Love thy neighbour, wherever you find them.
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?James 2:15-16 (KJV)
If Christians are society’s “little” (humble) people, it is because we are implored to never forget the littler still.
Little children; little people.