We are currently driving through Iowa on our way back from vacation and I was texting with a friend of mine earlier who commented that she always was a bit mesmerized by the rows and rows of corn. Shortly after we wrapped up our conversation, I was reading today’s scripture passages and came to Psalm 41 which begins, “Happy are those who consider the poor; the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.” Two things came to mind for me. First, I remembered and prayed for the work of my friends Sherman and Sadell and the organization “Consider the Poor” – focused on education, advocacy and change for the poor in Cincinnati. But then I looked out my window at the rows and rows of corn, the fields of soybeans, and so many other crops (but especially those two) that were passing by my window. What I saw out my window was not just the specific crops, but I saw “abundance.”
Where these two things – consider the poor and abundance – intersect for me is a challenge to me about how to approach the world today. It is so tempting to want to pull back from the world with everything that we read about – terror attacks, the Zika virus, the brutal and ugly presidential politics that are taking place, and so forth, yet Scripture calls us to something very different.
In this passage, the blessing that follows the first verse is not for the poor. “Happy are those who consider the poor…the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble. The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. They are called happy in the land. You do not give them up to the will of their enemies. The Lord sustains them on their sickbed; in their illness you heal all their infirmities.”
The promises are for those who consider the poor. The promises are for those are reaching out to those in need. When we talk about the solutions for what is going on in the world, so much turns to a discussion of scarcity and pulling back. Yet Scripture reminds us of the abundance that we do have and the call to reach beyond ourselves, especially to those in the deepest of need.
I googled the “official” definition of “consider” and one of those that came up was, “to think about and be drawn to a course of action.” That speaks to me today.