[I recommend that you read Part 1 first…]
“That’s just fine with us, go ahead and keep helping poor people if it makes you happy,” they argued, “but don’t you think it’s a little short sighted? Couldn’t you flex a little of your muscle to lift us back up to the top of the global heap where we belong? We heard you could do just about anything, so while you’re doing your philanthropic work, why don’t you reinstate the rest of us to our prosperous and free way of life? We have to go back to our officials with a report. Are you in or not?”
“Well, I’m ‘in,’ but maybe not in the same way you want me ‘in,’” he said. “My orders were to begin at the bottom – to concentrate on the vulnerable and oppressed.”
“You’ve come to the right place then – that’s us! We’re at the bottom. We’re oppressed! Can’t you see that our whole American way of life has been upended. Those evil Canadians have robbed us of control of our own destiny, our economic sovereignty, our political clout, and our ability to amass personal wealth. You’ve got to care about that, right? If you’re supposed to be our Savior, then save us from our plummeting stock values. We’re prepared to offer you total control of our country if you’ll just wave that magic wand of yours over us and …”
“Yes, I can see that you’ve lost a lot,” he said, “but can’t you see that what’s at stake for you for the most part is your preferred way of life? You want a better life than the one you have. I get that, and someday that hope might be realized – in this world or the next. But while you’re absorbed with your wants, a lot of other people don’t even have their bottom-line needs met. I’ve come to meet needs more than wants.
“You’re right about the miracles I do – they’re a ‘sign,’ but not necessarily a sign that the Divine is going to erase everyone’s inconveniences and hardships. He doesn’t often wield his clout to make comfortable people even more comfortable. He and I are not the exclusive possession of the middle and upper classes. We begin with the poorest and most destitute and then we make them a sign to the wealthy. My assignment is to teach and heal the poorest first. Their needs are the direst, plus they tend to be the most receptive to my message.
“I’ve been hoping that those of you with greater health and a more privileged status would get a clue and follow my lead to share yourselves and your wealth with those who have nothing. Instead, you lusted for a place at the pinnacle of society and when you arrived there you flunked the test.”
“But if you’ll give us back our middle-to-upper class status, even though it’s their own fault that they’re poor, we’ll use our affluence to be benevolent with those you seem to care so much about.”
“That was my original plan, where the rich help the poor, but it hasn’t played out that way in reality. You wasted the opportunity that abundance gave you. Instead of giving a hand up to the planet’s poorest, you used them as slaves so you could maintain your opulent lifestyle at a discount. And you did all this under the guise of being my followers. But selfishness doesn’t so easily sanctify.”
He knew they wanted to hear it but he went on to say, “You’re so accustomed to your own interests and personal advancement that you’ve lost sight of those who, without help, can’t move forward. You’re striving to thrive when all they can do is barely survive. You middle-class moaners fume over your drop in salary and your bump in taxes while many don’t even have a salary to drop or an income to tax.”
How do we, instead of “giving a hand up to the poor, use them to maintain our opulent lifestyle at a discount”? Any thoughts on that?
What do you think about concept that Jesus primarily healed the poor for two reasons: because they had no alternative and because he was trying to inspire the rich (that’s us) to follow his example of caring for the poor?