“The rich and poor have this in common: the Lord is the maker of them all.” (Proverbs 22.2)
What is the difference between King Solomon and the beggars gathering around the temple? Donald Trump and a migrant worker? From a worldly perspective, there is much difference. There is a chasm between the rich and the poor from a human perspective. But, both rich and poor are made in the image of God. If we believe this, the ways we live in the world are bound to change. To live in a world obsessed with wealth, with the belief that all are creatures of God, no matter what you have, is to challenge the way things are.
There is a church I know built in a city neighborhood that had once been full of upper-middle class homes. In time, there was urban flight and many church members moved to the suburbs They considered selling the building, but instead were led to redirect their mission and ministry and focus on the needs of this changing community. They set up a food bank, a clothing shelter. They offered programs for single parents. Developed 12-step groups. Folks from the neighborhood came to receive services, and stayed to serve others.
One day I overheard a member from another church commenting on the growth of this inner-c church. “Sure they’re growing,” she said, “but with the wrong kind of people.” I shared this with the pastor and he got a big smile on his face, “Well then, we must be doing something right.”