Galatians 2:1-10

Galatians – Remember the Poor

Galatians 2:1-10
This week in our sermon on Galatians I spent some time working through these 10 verses a verse or two at a time. This is a great way to unpack scripture on your own or as part of a groups. The underlying principle when doing this is to remember that we are not bringing our wisdom and knowledge and asking – does the Word of God agree with me. Rather we are bringing ourselves under the Word of God and asking ourselves are we living our lives in line with God’s wisdom.

Last week we talked about recalibrating ourselves. To recalibrate is to reset a measuring device so that it gives us an accurate measure or reading. When I was growing up we had a set of bathroom scales and you could recalibrate them just by twisting a small dial underneath the numbers. As kids we thought it was funny to reset them using this little dial so that the starting point was already above zero – we could then gleefully stand on them and pretend we were far heavier than we actually were – I think faced with those scales today I might be tempted to do the opposite!

The point is this, it is easy to reset the Word of God so that it confirms what we already believe, or the lives we are already living. To apply scripture with an unhealthy level of confirmation bias. But joy and freedom come when we know that secure in the grace of God we can allow the Word of God to reset us, to shape us more and more into the likeness of Christ.

How then might these verses recalibrate us? Well I would encourage you to watch the sermon from this week and with notepad open note down some of the points that we drew out together. How are we doing when we are alone in the secret place, are we building team and real friendship? Are we honouring all members of the church and taking personal responsibility for our own sphere of missional influence? What does it look like to intentionally pray, care and share the love of God with those around us?

What does it mean to allow verse 10 to shape us? Paul makes specific reference to only one practical outworking of the gospel – the call to “Remember the poor” It appears that this is the only request from the leadership of the Jerusalem church. Notice that it doesn’t say “think about the poor”. This is a good job, because there is a wealth of difference between thinking about something and remembering to do something. On occasion on getting home my wife Gwen will ask me “Did you remember to ….” It could be I was going to buy something, post something, or fix a date with someone? Gwen is not asking me if I thought about it, she is asking me if I did something about it. I confess my answer is often No, sorry. I may well have thought about it during the day, I called it to mind, I even said to myself I mustn’t forget to do … But the reality is that to remember something is to actually act upon those thoughts. So, when Paul records that he was encouraged to “Remember the poor” he is challenging himself, and us, to actually do something to alleviate the needs of the poor amongst us. To live lives where the grace of God in our lives is propelling us to lifestyle of blessing the poor.

It is easy for those of us living in London to compare our lives with the superrich on our televisions, to compare our lifestyles with those we may follow on social media. In this context we can forget that on a worldwide standard, and even compared with those who live on the edge of society in London – we are the rich. I did a very simple survey today and discovered that I am in the top 2.5% of the world’s richest people. I don’t need to feel guilty about this, but I do need to be challenged when the scripture asks the question am I remembering the poor?

Apply

  1. Where might God be challenging us on our attitude to the poor?

  2. How might we change our day to day life to live in a way that remembers and blesses the poor?

  3. Why not take some time researching local initiatives that look to bless the poor and discuss with your family, friendship group and life group how you might support one of these initiatives.

Prayer

Father God, thank you that in your grace you have given many of us more that we need. Stir our hearts to reflect your generosity towards us by being generous towards others.
 
Amen.
This Everyday Devotions was written by Simon Elliott, who leads our team of Elders.

Simon unpacks these themes in more detail in his sermon message this week on our website, YouTube Channel and at our Online Church Services.

This Everyday Devotions has also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube Channel.