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“The last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matt. 20:16

Invitation to the Word
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Ada Middleton
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Consider poverty as a “blessing” through this Invitation to the Word in Luke 6:20.

Then Jesus looked up at his disciples and said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Read, Pray, Study, Remember and Live the Word in Luke. Consider how our view of poverty might be altered if the Kingdom of God really does belong to the poor.

“Count your blessings.”  When we count up our blessings, I suspect that not many of us would list “poor” as a blessing to be counted.  “Poor” is often considered a social problem to be solved, a condition to be changed, or a situation requiring outside help.  But Jesus was clear:  he tells the crowd gathered around him that “you who are poor” are blessed, for the kingdom of God is theirs.  He wasn’t speaking in an abstract way, he was speaking directly to the multitude that had gathered to be close to Jesus.  And these are the first words he speaks. 

Do we truly believe that the kingdom of God belongs to the poor?  If the kingdom does belong to the poor, what does that mean for how we view poverty and how we address it as Christians?

READ

Read chapter 6 of Luke up through verse 20.  Notice who is drawn to Jesus and who is not as he preaches and heals.  Read verse 20 aloud, or have someone read it to you.  Does the verse sound the same aloud as when you read it silently?  How might it have sounded to the multitude gathered there to hear Jesus? 

PRAY

When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we pray that God’s kingdom will come.  Pray the Lord’s Prayer, pausing for a moment at the end of each line to reflect on the line in the context of the kingdom of God belonging to the poor. 

STUDY

Luke 6:20 begins a list of blessings that Jesus gives the people.  The blessings include being poor, being hungry and being hated.   In verse 24, Jesus begins a list of woes.  The woes include being full, being well liked, being one who laughs.  Generally speaking, the blessings Jesus pronounces sound more like woes, and vice versa.  We tend to think of the “poor” as unfortunate, perhaps even woeful.  What do you think Jesus is telling us about the method we use to count our blessings?

REMEMBER

Commit Luke 6:20 -23 to memory.  These are the blessings pronounced by Jesus.

LIVE

We live in a country of abundance, and many of our cultural norms are centered around possessions – the cars we drive, the houses in which we live, the clothes we wear.  Can we count our blessings in ways that are not limited to the things we have?  How do our lives reflect Jesus’ blessing of the poor?  As Christians, we are called not only to share the good news of the kingdom of God but also to feed the hungry and clothe the poor.  How do we answer this call to spread the good news of the blessing of the kingdom of God for the poor while also answering the call to meet their physical needs?

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