My journal entry from Luke 6:20-26:
Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
Jesus says that the marginalized are at the center of the kingdom of God, and those who are wealthy, and well established and powerful are the ones who need to be most concerned about their status in the kingdom.
We struggle with this reversal of roles as much as those who first heard in Jesus’ day. We expect to be blessed when we are close to the Lord. But we anticipate that these blessings will be reflected in our comfort, influence, sufficiency in this life, and not only in the life to come. Without question, a godly life does bring certain physical and financial blessings. We are not generally marginalized, at least not in the community of faith. Yet in some senses, we experience this marginalization as missionaries on home service, because we have so much less than those we visit (i.e. our donors). On the mission field, we are more like the rich, and our experience of marginalization is primarily due to our being foreigners, not because of our lack of wealth. We need to embrace our marginalization, and recognize that in this is our reward, not in the status we have as Westerners or as fully supported missionaries. We must make sure that we do not seek to avoid the marginalization or pretend that it does not exist, because it is in fact our claim to blessing from God. We cannot boast about it to others, because then we make it a status symbol. And we need to reach out to other marginalized people, and demonstrate to them God’s acceptance.
Help me to understand this radically reversed perspective, and to embrace the marginalization that I experience.